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2001-A Space Odyssey 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

Title: 2001: A space odissey 
Title: 2001: A space odissey 
Author: Arthur C. Clarke 

Original Copyright year: 1968; Epilogue Copyright 1982 
Genre: Science fiction 

Comments: to my knowledge, this is the only available e-text of this book. 
Source: scanned and OCR-read from a paperback edition with Xerox 
TextBridge Pro 9.0, proofread in MS Word 2000. 

Date of e-text: August 20, 1999 
Prepared by: Anada Sucka 

Anticopyright 1999. All rights reversed. 


2001: A Space Odissey 
Arthur C. Clarke 


For e word 


Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by 
which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred 
billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. 

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are 
approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So 
for every man who has e ver lived, in this Universe there shines a star. 




But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious 
than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many - perhaps most - of those 
alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in 
the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, 
his own private, world-sized heaven - or hell. 

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by 
what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a 
million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those stili remote goals of the 
next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall 
meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars. 

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some stili hope that it may 
never become reality. Increasing numbers, however, are asking: “Why have such 
meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into 
space?” 


Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable 
question. But please remembert thi sis only a work of fiction. 

The truth, as always, will be far stranger. 


To Stanley 


I - PRIMEVAL NIGHT 



2001-A Space Odyssey 


1 - The Road to Extinction 


The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the 
terrible lizards had long since ended. Here on the Equator, in the continent which 
would one day be known as Africa, the battle for existence had reached a new 
climax of ferocity, and the victor was not yet in sight. In this barren and 
desiccated land, only the small or the swift or the fierce could flourish, or even 
hope to survive. 

The man-apes of the veldt were none of the se things, and they were not 
flourishing. Indeed, they were already far down the road to racial extinction. 
About fifty of them occupied a group of caves overlooking a small, parched 
valley, which was divided by a sluggish stream fed from snows in the mountains 
two hundred miles to the north. In bad times the stream vanished completely, and 
the tribe lived in the shadow of thirst. 

It was always hungry, and now it was starving. When the first faint glow 
of dawn crept into the cave, Moon-Watcher saw that his father had died in the 
night. He did not know that the Old One was his father, for such a relationship 
was utterly beyond his understanding, but as he looked at the emaciated body he 
felt dim disquiet that was the ancestor of sadness. 

The two babies were already whimpering for food, but became silent when 
Moon-Watcher snarled at them. One of the mothers, defending the infant she 
could not properly feed, gave him an angry growl in return; he lacked the energy 
even to cuff her for her presumption. 

Now it was light enough to leave. Moon-Watcher picked up the shriveled 
corpse and dragged it after him as he bent under the low overhang of the cave. 
Once outside, he threw the body over his shoulder and stood upright - the only 
animal in all this world able to do so. 



Among his kind, Moon-Watcher was almost a giant. He was nearly five 
feet high, and though badly undernourished weighed over a hundred pounds. His 
hairy, muscular body was halfway between ape and man, but his head was 
already much nearer to man than ape. The forehead was low, and there were 
ridges over the eye sockets, yet he unmistakably held in his genes the promise of 
humanity. As he looked out upon the hostile world of the Pleistocene, there was 
already something in his gaze beyond the capacity of any ape. In those dark, 
deep-set eyes was a dawning awareness - the first intimations of an intelligence 
that could not possibly fulfill itself for ages yet, and might soon be extinguished 
forever. 

There was no sign of danger, so Moon-Watcher began to scramble down 
the almost vertical slope outside the cave, only slightly hindered by his burden. 
As if they had been waiting for his signal, the rest of the tribe emerged from their 
own homes farther down the rock face, and began to hasten toward the muddy 
waters of the stream for their morning drink. 

Moon-Watcher looked across the valley to see if the Others were in sight, 
but there was no trace of them. Perhaps they had not yet left their caves, or were 
already foraging farther along the hillside. Since they were nowhere to be seen, 
Moon-Watcher forgot them; he was incapable of worrying about more than one 
thing at a time. 

First he must get rid of the Old One, but this was a problem that demanded 
little thought. There had been many deaths this season, one of them in his own 
cave; he had only to put the corpse where he had left the new baby at the last 
quarter of the moon, and the hyenas would do the rest. 

They were already waiting, where the little valley fanned out into the 
savanna, almost as if they had known that he was coming. Moon-Watcher left 
the body under a small bush - all the earlier bones were already gone - and 
hurried back to rejoin the tribe. He never thought of his father again. 

His two mates, the adults from the other caves, and most of the youngsters 
were foraging among the drought-stunted trees farther up the valley, looking for 
berries, succulent roots and leaves, and occasional windfalls like small lizards or 
rodents. Only the babies and the feeblest of the old folk were left in the caves; if 
there was any surplus food at the end of the day's searching, they might be fed. If 



not, the hyenas would soon be in luck once more. 


But this day was a good one - though as Moon-Watcher had no real 
remembrance of the past, he could not compare one time with another. He had 
found a hive of bees in the stump of a dead tree, and so had enjoyed the finest 
delicacy that his people could ever know; he stili licked his fingers from time to 
time as he led the group homeward in the late afternoon. Of course, he had also 
collected a fair number of stings, but he had scarcely noticed them. He was now 
as near to contentment as he was ever likely to be; for though he was stili 
hungry, he was not actually weak with hunger. That was the most to which any 
man-ape could ever aspire. 

His contentment vanished when he reached the stream. The Others were 
there. They were there every day, but that did not make it any the less annoying. 

There were about thirty of them, and they could not have been 
distinguished from the members of MoonWatcher's own tribe. As they saw him 
coming they begun to dance, shake their arms, and shriek on their side of the 
stream, and his own people replied in kind. 

And that was all that happened. Though the man-apes often fought and 
wrestled one another, their disputes very seldom resulted in serious injuries. 
Having no claws or fighting canine teeth, and being well protected by hair, they 
could not inflict much harm on one another. In any event, they had little surplus 
energy for such unproductive behavior; snarling and threatening was a much 
more efficient way of asserting their points of view. 

The confrontation lasted about five minutes; then the display died out as 
quickly as it had begun, and everyone drank his fili of the muddy water. Honor 
had been satisfied; each group had staked its claim to its own territory. This 
important business having been settled, the tribe moved off along its side of the 
river. The nearest worthwhile grazing was now more than a mile from the caves, 
and they had to share it with a herd of large, antelope-like beasts who barely 
tolerated their presence. They could not be driven away, for they were armed 
with ferocious daggers on their foreheads - the natural weapons which the man- 
apes did not possess. 

So Moon-Watcher and his companions chewed berries and fruit and leaves 
and fought off the pangs of hunger - while all around them, competing for the 



same fodder, was a potential source of more food than they could ever hope to 
eat. Yet the thousands of tons of succulent meat roaming over the savanna and 
through the bush was not only beyond their reach; it was beyond their 
imagination. In the midst of plenty, they were slowly starving to death. 

The tribe returned to its cave without incident, in the last light of the day. 
The injured female who had remained behind cooed with pleasure as Moon- 
Watcher gave her the berry-covered branch he had brought back, and began to 
attack it ravenously. There was little enough nourishment here, but it would help 
her to survive until the wound the leopard had given her had healed, and she 
could forage for herself again. 

Over the valley, a full moon was rising, and a chill wind was blowing 
down from the distant mountains. It would be very cold tonight - but cold, like 
hunger, was not a matter for any real concern; it was merely part of the 
background of life. 

Moon-Watcher barely stirred when the shrieks and screams echoed up the 
slope from one of the lower caves, and he did not need to hear the occasional 
growl of the leopard to know exactly what was happening. 

Down there in the darkness old White Hair and his family were fighting 
and dying, and the thought that he might help in some way never crossed Moon- 
Watcher^ mind. The harsh logic of survival ruled out such fancies, and not a 
voice was raised in protest from the listening hillside. Every cave was silent, lest 
it also attract disaster. 

The tumuit died away, and presently Moon-Watcher could hear the sound 
of a body being dragged over rocks. That lasted only a few seconds; then the 
leopard got a good hold on its kill. It made no further noise as it padded silently 
away, carrying its victim effortlessly in its jaws. 

For a day or two, there would be no further danger here, but there might 
be other enemies abroad, taking advantage of this cold Little Sun that shone only 
by night. If there was sufficient warning, the smaller predators could sometimes 
be scared away by shouts and screams. Moon-Watcher crawled out of the cave, 
clambered onto a large boulder beside the entrance, and squatted there to survey 
the valley. 



Of all the creatures who had yet walked on Earth, the man-apes were the 
first to look steadfastly at the Moon. And though he could not remember it, when 
he was very young Moon-Watcher would sometimes reach out and try to touch 
that ghostly face rising above the hilis. 

He had never succeeded, and now he was old enough to understand why. 
For first, of course, he must find a high enough tree to climb. 

Sometimes he watched the valley, and sometimes he watched the Moon, 
but always he listened. Once or twice he dozed off, but he slept with a hair- 
trigger alertness, and the slightest sound would have disturbed him. At the great 
age of twenty-five, he was stili in full possession of all his faculties; if his luck 
continued, and he avoided accidents, disease, predators, and starvation, he might 
survive for as much as another ten years. 

The night wore on, cold and ciear, without further alarms, and the Moon 
rose slowly amid equatorial constellations that no human eye would ever see. In 
the caves, between spells of fitful dozing and fearful waiting, were being born 
the nightmares of generations yet to be. 

And twice there passed slowly across the sky, rising up to the zenith and 
descending into the east, a dazzling point of light more brilliant than any star. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

2 - The New Rock 


Late that night, Moon-Watcher suddenly awoke. Tired out by the day's 
exertions and disasters, he had been sleeping more soundly than usual, yet he 
was instantly alert at the first faint scrabbling down in the valley. 

He sat up in the fetid darkness of the cave, straining his senses out into the 
night, and fear crept slowly into his soul. Never in his life - already twice as long 
as most members of his species could expect - had he heard a sound like this. 
The great cats approached in silence, and the only thing that betrayed them was a 
rare slide of earth, or the occasional cracking of a twig. Yet this was a 
continuous crunching noise, that grew steadily louder. It seemed that some 
enormous beast was moving through the night, making no attempt at 
concealment, and ignoring all obstacles. Once Moon-Watcher heard the 
unmistakable sound of a bush, being uprooted; the elephants and dinotheria did 
this often enough, but otherwise they moved as silently as the cats. 

And then there came a sound which Moon-Watcher could not possibly 
have identified, for it had never been heard before in the history of the world. It 
was the clank of metal upon stone. 

Moon-Watcher came face to face with the New Rock when he led the tribe 
down to the river in the first light of morning. He had almost forgotten the 
terrors of the night, because nothing had happened after that initial noise, so he 
did not even associate this strange thing with danger or with fear. There was, 
after all, nothing in the least alarming about it. 

It was a rectangular slab, three times his height but narrow enough to span 
with his arms, and it was made of some completely transparent material; indeed, 
it was not easy to see except when the rising sun glinted on its edges. As Moon- 
Watcher had never encountered ice, or even crystal-clear water, there were no 



natural objects to which he could compare this apparition. It was certainly rather 
attractive, and though he was wisely cautious of most new things, he did not 
hesitate for long before sidling up to it. As nothing happened, he put out his 
hand, and felt a cold, hard surface. 

After several minutes of intense thought, he arrived at a brilliant 
explanation. It was a rock, of course, and it must have grown during the night. 
There were many plants that did this - white, pulpy things shaped like pebbles, 
that seemed to shoot up during the hours of darkness. It was true that they were 
small and round, whereas this was large and sharp-edged; but greater and later 
philosophers than Moon-Watcher would be prepared to overlook equally striking 
exceptions to their theories. 

This really superb piece of abstract thinking led Moon-Watcher, after only 
three or four minutes, to a deduction which he immediately put to the test. The 
white round pebble-plants were very tasty (though there were a few that 
produced violent illness); perhaps this tali one...? 

A few licks and attempted nibbles quickly disillusioned him. There was no 
nourishment here; so like a sensible man-ape, he continued on his way to the 
river and forgot all about the crystalline monolith, during the daily routine of 
shrieking at the Others. 

The foraging today was very bad, and the tribe had to travel several miles 
from the caves to find any food at all. During the merciless heat of noon one of 
the frailer females collapsed, far from any possible shelter. Her companions 
gathered round her, twittering and meeping sympathetically, but there was 
nothing that anyone could do. If they had been less exhausted they might have 
carried her with them, but there was no surplus energy for such acts of kindness. 
She had to be left behind, to recover or not with her own resources. They passed 
the spot on the homeward trek that evening; there was not a bone to be seen. 

In the last light of day, looking round anxiously for early hunters, they 
drank hastily at the stream and started the climb up to their caves. They were stili 
a hundred yards from the New Rock when the sound began. 

It was barely audible, yet it stopped them dead, so that they stood 
paralyzed on the trail with their jaws hanging slackly. A simple, maddeningly 
repetitious vibration, it pulsed out from the crystal; and hypnotized all who came 



within its spell. For the first time - and the last, for three million years - the 
sound of drumming was heard in Africa. 

The throbbing grew louder, more insistent. Presently the man-apes began 
to move forward, like sleepwalkers, toward the source of that compulsive sound. 
Sometimes they took little dancing steps, as their blood responded to rhythms 
that their descendants would not create for ages yet. Totally entranced, they 
gathered round the monolith, forgetting the hardships of the day, the perils of the 
approaching dusk, and the hunger in their bellies. 

The drumming became louder, the night darker. And as the shadows 
lengthened and the light drained from the sky, the crystal began to glow. 

First it lost its transparency, and became suffused with a pale, milky 
luminescence, Tantalizing, ill-defined phantoms moved across its surface and in 
its depths. They coalesced into bars of light and shadow, then formed 
intermeshing, spoked patterns that began slowly to rotate. 

Faster and faster spun the wheels of light, and the throbbing of the drums 
accelerated with them. Now utterly hypnotized, the man-apes could only stare 
slack-jawed into this astonishing display of pyrotechnics. They had already 
forgotten the instincts of their forefathers and the lessons of a lifetime; not one of 
them, ordinarily, would have been so far from his cave, so late in the evening. 
For the surrounding brush was full of frozen shapes and staring eyes, as the 
creatures of the night suspended their business to see what would happen next. 

Now the spinning wheels of light began to merge, and the spokes fused 
into luminous bars that slowly receded into the distance, rotating on their axes as 
they did so. They split into pairs and the resulting sets of lines started to oscillate 
across one another, slowly changing their angles of intersection. Fantastic, 
fleeting geometrical patterns flickered in and out of existence as the glowing 
grids meshed and unmeshed; and the man-apes watched, mesmerized captives of 
the shining crystal. 

They could never guess that their minds were being probed, their bodies 
mapped, their reactions studied, their potentials evaluated. At first, the whole 
tribe remained half crouching in a motionless tableau, as if frozen into stone. 
Then the man-ape nearest to the slab suddenly came to life. 



He did not move from his position, but his body lost its trancelike rigidity 
and became animated as if it were a puppet controlled by invisible strings. The 
head turned this way and that; the mouth silently opened and closed; the hands 
clenched and unclenched. Then he bent down, snapped off a long stalk of grass, 
and attempted to tie it into a knot with clumsy fingers. 

He seemed to be a thing possessed, struggling against some spirit or 
demon who had taken over control of his body. He was panting for breath, and 
his eyes were full of terror as he tried to force his fingers to make movements 
more complex than any that they had ever attempted before. 

Despite all his efforts, he succeeded only in breaking the stalk into pieces. 
As the fragments feli to the ground, the controlling influence left him, and he 
froze once more into immobility. 

Another man-ape came to life, and went through the same routine. This 
was a younger, more adaptable specimen; it succeeded where the older one had 
failed. On the planet Earth, the first crude knot had been tied. 

Others did stranger and stili more pointless things. Some held their hands 
out at arm's length, and tried to touch their fingertips together - first with both 
eyes open, then with one closed. Some were made to stare at ruled patterns in the 
crystal, which became more and more finely divided until the lines had merged 
into a gray blur. And all heard single pure sounds, of varying pitch, that swiftly 
sank below the level of hearing. 

When Moon-Watcher's turn came, he felt very little fear. His main 
sensation was a dull resentment, as his muscles twitched and his limbs moved at 
commands that were not wholly his own. Without knowing why, he bent down 
and picked up a small stone. When he straightened up, he saw that there was a 
new image in the crystal slab. 

The grids and the moving, dancing patterns had gone. Instead, there was a 
series of concentric circles, surrounding a small black disk. Obeying the silent 
orders in his brain, he pitched the stone with a clumsy, overarm throw. It missed 
the target by several feet. 

Try again, said the command. He searched around until he had found 
another pebble. This time it hit the slab with a ringing, bell-like tone. He was 



stili a long way off, but his aim was improving. At the fourth attempt, he was 
only inches from the Central bull's-eye. A feeling of indescribable pleasure, 
almost sexual in its intensity, flooded his mind. Then the control relaxed; he felt 
no impulse to do anything, except to stand and wait. 

One by one, every member of the tribe was briefly possessed. Some 
succeeded, but most failed at the tasks they had been set, and all were 
appropriately rewarded by spasms of pleasure or of pain. 

Now there was only a uniform featureless glow in the great slab, so that it 
stood like a block of light superimposed oil the surrounding darkness. As if 
waking from a sleep, the man-apes shook their heads, and presently began to 
move along the trail to their place of shelter. They did not look back, or wonder 
at the strange light that was guiding them to their homes - and to a future 
unknown, as yet, even to the stars. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

3 - Academy 


Moon-Watcher and his companions had no recollection of what they had 
seen, after the crystal had ceased to cast its hypnotic spell over their minds and 
to experiment with their bodies. The next day, as they went out to forage, they 
passed it with scarcely a second thought; it was now part of the disregarded 
background of their lives. They could not eat it, and it could not eat them; 
therefore it was not important. 

Down at the river, the Others made their usual ineffectual threats. Their 
leader, a one-eared man-ape of Moon-Watcher's size and age, but in poorer 
condition, even made a brief foray toward the tribe's territory, screaming loudly 
and waving his arms in an attempt to scare the opposition and to bolster his own 
courage. 

The water of the stream was nowhere more than a foot deep, but the 
farther One-Ear moved out into it, the more uncertain and unhappy he became. 
Very soon he slowed to a halt, and then moved back, with exaggerated dignity, to 
join his companions. 

Otherwise, there was no change in the normal routine. The tribe gathered 
just enough nourishment to survive for another day, and no one died. 

And that night, the crystal slab was stili waiting; surrounded by its pulsing 
aura of light and sound. The program it had contrived, however, was now subtly 
different. 

Some, of the man-apes it ignored completely, as if it was concentrating on 
the most promising subjects. 

One of them was Moon-Watcher; once again he felt inquisitive tendrils 



creeping down the unused byways of his brain. And presently, he began to see 
visions. They might have been within the crystal block; they might have been 
wholly inside his mind. In any event, to Moon-Watcher they were completely 
real. Yet somehow the usual automatic impulse to drive off invaders of his 
territory had been lulled into quiescence. 

He was looking at a peaceful family group, differing in only one respect 
from the scenes he knew. The male, female, and two infants that had 
mysteriously appeared before him were gorged and replete, with sleek and 
glossy pelts - and this was a condition of life that Moon-Watcher had never 
imagined. Unconsciously, he felt his own protruding ribs; the ribs of these 
creatures were hidden in rolls of fat. From time to time they stirred lazily, as they 
lolled at ease near the entrance of a cave, apparently at peace with the world. 
Occasionally; the big male emitted a monumental burp of contentment. 

There was no other activity, and after five minutes the scene suddenly 
faded out. The crystal was no more than a glimmering outline in the darkness; 
Moon-Watcher shook himself as if awaking from a dream, abruptly realized 
where he was, and led the tribe back to the caves. 

He had no conscious memory of what he had seen; but that night, as he sat 
brooding at the entrance of his lair, his ears attuned to the noises of the world 
around him, Moon-Watcher felt the first faint twinges of a new and potent 
emotion. It was a vague and diffuse sense of envy - of dissatisfaction with his 
life. He had no idea of its cause, stili less of its cure; but discontent had come 
into his soul, and he had taken one small step toward humanity. 

Night after night, the spectacle of those four plump man-apes was 
repeated, until it had become a source of fascinated exasperation, serving to 
increase Moon-Watcher's eternal, gnawing hunger. The evidence of his eyes 
could not have produced this effect; it needed psychological reinforcement. 
There were gaps in Moon-Watcher's life now that he would never remember, 
when the very atoms of his simple brain were being twisted into new patterns. If 
he survived, those patterns would become eternal, for his genes would pass them 
on to future generations. 

It was a slow, tedious business, but the crystal monolith was patient. 
Neither it, nor its replicas scattered across half the globe, expected to succeed 
with ali the scores of groups involved in the experiment. A hundred failures 



would not matter, when a single success could change the destiny of the world. 


By the time of the next new moon, the tribe had seen one birth and two 
deaths. One of these had been due to starvation; the other had occurred during 
the nightly ritual, when a man-ape had suddenly collapsed while attempting to 
tap two pieces of stone delicately together. At once, the crystal had darkened, 
and the tribe had been released from the spell. But the fallen man-ape had not 
moved; and by the morning, of course, the body was gone. 

There had been no performance the next night; the crystal was stili 
analyzing its mistake. The tribe streamed past it through the gathering dusk, 
ignoring its presence completely. The night after, it was ready for them again. 
The four plump man-apes were stili there, and now they were doing 
extraordinary things. Moon-Watcher began to tremble uncontrollably; he felt as 
if his brain would burst, and wanted to turn away his eyes. But that remorseless 
mental control would not relax its grip; he was compelled to follow the lesson to 
the end, though all his instincts revolted against it. 

Those instincts had served his ancestors well, in the days of warm rains 
and lush fertility, when food was to be had everywhere for the plucking. Now 
times had changed, and the inherited wisdom of the past had become folly. The 
man-apes must adapt, or they must die - like the greater beasts who had gone 
before them, and whose bones now lay sealed within the limestone hilis. 

So Moon-Watcher stared at the crystal monolith with unblinking eyes, 
while his brain lay open to its stili uncertain manipulations. Often he felt nausea, 
but always he felt hunger; and from time to time his hands clenched 
unconsciously in the patterns that would determine his new way of life. 


As the line of warthogs moved snuffling and grunting across the trail, 
Moon-Watcher came to a sudden halt. Pigs and man-apes had always ignored 
each other, for there was no conflict of interest between them. Like most animals 
that did not compete for the same food, they merely kept out of each other's way. 

Yet now Moon-Watcher stood looking at them, wavering back and forth 
uncertainly as he was buffeted by impulses which he could not understand, 
Then, as if in a dream, he started searching the ground - though for what, he 



could not have explained even if he had had the power of speech. He would 
recognize it when he saw it. 

It was a heavy, pointed stone about six inches long, and though it did not 
fit his hand perfectly, it would do. As he swung his hand around, puzzled by its 
suddenly increased weight, he felt a pleasing sense of power and authority. He 
started to move toward the nearest pig. 

It was a young and foolish animal, even by the undemanding standards of 
warthog intelligence. Though it observed him out of the corner of its eye, it did 
not take him seriously until much too late. Why should it suspect these harmless 
creatures of any evil intent? It went on rooting up the grass until Moon-Watcher's 
stone hammer obliterated its dim consciousness. The remainder of the herd 
continued grazing unalarmed, for the murder had been swift and silent. 

All the other man-apes in the group had stopped to watch, and now they 
crowded round Moon-Watcher and his victim with admiring wonder. Presently 
one of them picked up the blood-stained weapon, and began to pound the dead 
pig. Others joined in with any sticks and stones that they could gather, until theirt 
target began a messy disintegration. 

Then they became bored; some wandered off, while others stood hesitantly 
around the unrecognizable corpse - the future of a world waiting upon their 
decision. It was a surprisingly long time before one of the nursing females began 
to lick the gory stone she was holding in her paws. 

And it was longer stili before Moon-Watcher, despite all that he had been 
shown, really understood that he need never be hungry again. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

4 - The Leopard 


The tools they had been programmed to use were simple enough, yet they 
could change this world and make the man-apes its masters. The most primitive 
was the hand-held stone, that multiplied manyfold the power of a blow. Then 
there was the bone club, that lengthened the reach and could provide a buffer 
against the fangs or claws of angry animals. With these weapons, the limitless 
food that roamed the savannas was theirs to take. 

But they needed other aids, for their teeth and nails could not readily 
dismember anything larger than a rabbit, Luckily, Nature had provided the 
perfect tools, requiring only the wit to pick them up; First there was a crude but 
very efficient knife or saw, of a model that would serve well for the next three 
million years. It was simply the lower jawbone of an antelope, with the teeth stili 
in place; there would be no substantial improvement until the coming of Steel. 
Then there was an awl or dagger in the form of a gazelle horn, and finally a 
scraping tool made from the complete jaw of almost any small animal. 

The stone club, the toothed saw, the horn dagger, the bone scraper - these 
were the marvelous inventions which the man-apes needed in order to survive. 
Soon they would recognize them for the symbols of power that they were, but 
many months must pass before their clumsy fingers had acquired the skill - or 
the will - to use them. 

Perhaps, given time, they might by their own efforts have come to the 
awesome and brilliant concept of using natural weapons as artificial tools. But 
the odds were all against them, and even now there were endless opportunities 
for failure in the ages that lay ahead. 

The man-apes had been given their first chance. There would be no second 
one; the future was, very literally, in their own hands. 



Moons waxed and waned; babies were born and sometimes lived; feeble, 
toothless thirty-year-olds died; the leopard took its toll in the night; the Others 
threatened daily across the river - and the tribe prospered. In the course of a 
single year, Moon-Watcher and his companions had changed almost beyond 
recognition. 

They had learned their lessons well; now they could handle all the tools 
that had been revealed to them. The very memory of hunger was fading from 
their minds; and though the warthogs were becoming shy, there were gazelles 
and antelopes and zebras in countless thousands on the plains. All these animals, 
and others, had fallen prey to the apprentice hunters. 

Now that they were no longer half-numbed with starvation, they had time 
both for leisure and for the first rudiments of thought. Their new way of life was 
now casually accepted, and they did not associate it in any way with the 
monolith stili standing beside the trail to the river. If they had ever stopped to 
consider the matter, they might have boasted that they had brought about their 
improved status by their own efforts; in fact, they had already forgotten any 
other mode of existence. 

But no Utopia is perfect, and this one had two blemishes. The first was the 
marauding leopard, whose passion for man-apes seemed to have grown even 
stronger now that they were better nourished. The second was the tribe across 
the river; for somehow the Others had survived, and had stubbornly refused to 
die of starvation. 

The leopard problem was resolved partly by chance, partly owing to a 
serious - indeed almost fatal - error on Moon-Watcher's part. Yet at the time his 
idea had seemed such a brilliant one that he had danced with joy, and perhaps he 
could hardly be blamed for overlooking the consequences. 

The tribe stili experienced occasional bad days, though these no longer 
threatened its very survival. Toward dusk, it had failed to make a kill; the horne 
caves were already in sight as Moon-Watcher led his tired and disgruntled 
companions back to shelter. And there, on their very threshold, they found one of 
nature's rare bonanzas. A full-grown antelope was lying by the trail. Its foreleg 



was broken, but it stili had plenty of fight in it, and the circling jackals gave its 
daggerlike horns a respectful berth. They could afford to wait; they knew that 
they had only to bide their time. But they had forgotten about the competition, 
and retreated with angry snarls when the man-apes arrived. 

They too circled warily, keeping beyond the range of those dangerous 
horns; then they moved to the attack with clubs and stones. 

It was not a very effective or coordinated attack; by the time the wretched 
beast had been given its quietus the light had almost gone - and the jackals were 
regaining their courage. Moon-Watcher, torn between fear and hunger, slowly 
realized that all this effort might have been in vain. It was too dangerous to stay 
here any longer. 

Then, not for the first or the last time, he proved himself a genius. With an 
immense effort of imagination, he visualized the dead antelope - in the safety of 
his own cave. He began to drag it toward the cliff face; presently, the others 
understood his intentions, and began to help him. 

If he had known how difficult the task would be, he would never have 
attempted it. Only his great strength, and the agility inherited from his arboreal 
ancestors allowed him to haul the carcass up the steep slope. Several times, 
weeping with frustration, he almost abandoned his prize, but a stubbornness as 
deep-seated as his hunger drove him on. Sometimes the others helped him, 
sometimes they hindered; more often, they merely got in the way. But finally it 
was done; the battered antelope was dragged over the lip of the cave, as the last 
hues of sunlight faded from the sky; and the feasting began. 

Hours later, gorged to repletion, Moon-Watcher awoke. Not knowing why, 
he sat up in the darkness among the sprawled bodies of his equally satiated 
companions, and strained his ears into the night. 

There was no sound except the heavy breathing around him; the whole 
world seemed asleep. The rocks beyond the mouth of the cave were pale as bone 
in the brilliant light from the moon, now high overhead. Any thought of danger 
seemed infinitely remote. 

Then, from a long way off, came the sound of a falling pebble. Fearful, yet 
inquisitive, Moon-Watcher crawled out onto the ledge of the cave and peered 



down the face of the cliff. 


What he saw left him so paralyzed with fright that for long seconds he was 
unable to move. Only twenty feet below, two gleaming golden eyes were staring 
straight up at him; they held him so hypnotized with fear that he was scarcely 
aware of the lithe, streaked body behind them, flowing smoothly and silently 
from rock to rock. Never before had the leopard climbed so high. It had ignored 
the lower caves, though it must have been well aware of their inhabitants. Now it 
was after other game; it was following the spoor of blood, up the moon-washed 
face of the cliff. 

Seconds later, the night was made hideous by the shrieks of alarm from the 
man-apes in the cave above. The leopard gave a snarl of fury as it realized that it 
had lost the element of surprise. But it did not check its advance, for it knew that 
it had nothing to fear. 

It reached the ledge, and rested for a moment on the narrow open space. 
The scent of blood was all around, filling its fierce and tiny mind with one 
overwhelming desire. Without hesitation, it padded silently into the cave. 

And here it made its first error, for as it moved out of the moonlight even 
its superbly night-adapted eyes were at a momentary disadvantage. The man- 
apes could see it, partly silhouetted against the opening of the cave, more clearly 
than it could see them. They were terrified, but they were no longer utterly 
helpless. 

Snarling and lashing its tail in arrogant confidence, the leopard advanced 
in search of the tender food that it craved. Had it met its prey in the open, it 
would have had no problems; but now that the man-apes were trapped, 
desperation had given them the courage to attempt the impossible. And for the 
first time they had the means to achieve it. 

The leopard knew that something was wrong when it felt a stunning blow 
on its head. It lashed out with its forepaw, and heard a shriek of agony as its 
claws slashed through soft flesh. Then there was a piercing pain as something 
sharp drove into its flanks - once, twice, and yet a third time. It whirled around 
to strike at the shadows screaming and dancing on all sides. 

Again there was a violent blow as something caught it across the snout. Its 



teeth snapped on a white, moving blur - only to grate uselesssly upon dead bone. 
And now - in a final, unbelievable indignity - its tail was being dragged out by 
the roots. 

It whirled around, throwing its insanely daring tormentor against the wall 
of the cave. Yet whatever it did, it could not escape the rain of blows, inflicted 
on it by crude weapons wielded by clumsy but powerful hands. Its snarls ran the 
gamut from pain to alarm, from alarm to outright terror. The implacable hunter 
was now the victim, and was desperately trying to retreat. 

And then it made its second mistake, for in its surprise and fright it had 
forgotten where it was. Or perhaps it had been dazed or blinded by the blows 
rained on its head; whatever the case, it bolted abruptly from the cave. There was 
a horrible screech as it went toppling out into space. Ages later, it seemed, there 
came a thud as it crashed into an outcropping halfway down the cliff; thereafter, 
the only sound was the sliding of loose stones, which quickly died away into the 
night. 


For a long time, intoxicated by victory, Moon-Watcher stood dancing and 
gibbering at the entrance of the cave. He rightly sensed that his whole world had 
changed and that he was no longer a powerless victim of the forces around him. 

Then he went back into the cave and, for the first time in his life, had an 
unbroken night's sleep. 


In the morning, they I found the body of the leopard at the foot of the cliff. 
Even in death, it was some time before anyone dared to approach the vanquished 
monster, but presently they closed in upon it, with their bone knives and saws. 


It was very hard work, and they did no hunting that day. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

5 - Encounter in the Dawn 


As he led the tribe down to the river in the dim light of dawn, Moon- 
Watcher paused uncertainly at a familiar spot. Something, he knew, was missing; 
but what it was, he could not remember. He wasted no mental effort on the 
problem, for this morning he had more important matters on his mind. 

Like thunder and lightning and clouds and eclipses, the great block of 
crystal had departed as mysteriously as it had come. Having vanished into the 
nonexistent past, it never troubled Moon-Watcher's thoughts again. 

He would never know what it had done to him; and none of his 
companions wondered, as they gathered round him in the morning mist, why he 
had paused for a moment here on the way to the river. 


From their side of the stream, in the never-violated safety of their own 
territory, the Others first saw Moon-Watcher and a dozen males of his tribe as a 
moving frieze against the dawn sky. At once they began to scream their daily 
challenge; but this time, there was no answer. 

Steadily, purposefully - above all, silently - Moon-Watcher and his band 
descended the low hillock that overlooked the river; and as they approached, the 
Others became suddenly quiet. Their ritual rage ebbed away, to be replaced by a 
mounting fear. They were dimly aware that something had happened, and that 
this encounter was unlike all those that had ever gone before. 

The bone clubs and knives that Moon-Watcher's group carried did not 
alarm them, for they did not understand their purpose. They only knew that their 
rivals' movements were now imbued with determination, and with menaee. 



The party stopped at the water's edge, and for a moment the Others' 
courage revived. Led by One-Ear, they halfheartedly resumed their battle chant. 
It lasted only a few seconds before a vision of terror struck then dumb. 

Moon-Watcher raised his arms high into the air, revealing the burden that 
until now had been concealed by the hirsute bodies of his companions. He was 
holding a stout branch, and impaled upon it was the bloody head of the leopard. 
The mouth had been jammed open with a stick, and the great fangs gleamed a 
ghastly white in the first rays of the rising sun. 

Most of the Others were too paralyzed with fright to move; but some 
began a slow, stumbling retreat. That was all the encouragement that Moon- 
Watcher needed. Stili holding the mangled trophy above his head, he started to 
cross the stream. After a momenfs hesitation, his companions splashed after 
him. 


When Moon-Watcher reached the far side, One-Ear was stili standing his 
ground. Perhaps he was too brave or too stupid to run; perhaps he could not 
really believe that this outrage was actually happening. Coward or hero, it made 
no difference in the end, as the frozen snarl of death came crashing down upon 
his uncomprehending head. 

Shrieking with fright, the Others scattered into the bush; but presently they 
would return, and soon they would forget their lost leader. 

For a few seconds Moon-Watcher stood uncertainly above his new victim, 
trying to grasp the strange and wonderful fact that the dead leopard could kill 
again. Now he was master of the world, and he was not quite sure what to do 
next. 


But he would thinkof something. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

6 - Ascent of Man 


A new animal was abroad on the planet, spreading slowly out from the 
African heartland. It was stili so rare that a hasty census might have overlooked 
it, among the teeming billions of creatures roving over land and sea. There was 
no evidence, as yet, that it would prosper or even survive: on this world where so 
many mightier beasts had passed away, its fate stili wavered in the balance. 

In the hundred thousand years since the crystals had descended upon 
Africa, the man-apes had invented nothing. But they had started to change, and 
had developed skills which no other animal possessed. Their bone clubs had 
increased their reach and multiplied their strength; they were no longer 
defenseless against the predators with whom they had to compete. The smaller 
carnivores they could drive away from their own kills; the larger ones they could 
at least discourage, and sometimes put to flight. 

Their massive teeth were growing smaller, for they were no longer 
essential. The sharp-edged stones that could be used to dig out roots, or to cut 
and saw through tough flesh or fiber, had begun to replace them, with 
immeasurable consequences. No longer were the man-apes faced with starvation 
when their teeth became damaged or worn; even the crudest tools could add 
many years to their lives. And as their fangs diminished, the shape of their face 
started to alter; the snout receded, the massive jaw became more delicate, the 
mouth able to make more subtle sounds. Speech was stili a million years away, 
but the first steps toward it had been taken. 

And then the world began to change. In four great waves, with two 
hundred thousand years between their crests, the Ice Ages swept by, leaving their 
mark on all the globe. Outside the tropics, the glaciers slew those who had 
prematurely left theft ancestral horne; and everywhere they winnowed out the 
creatures who could not adapt. 



When the ice had passed, so had much of the planefs early life - including 
the man-apes. But, unlike so many others, they had left descendants; they had 
not merely become extinct - they had been transformed. The toolmakers had 
been remade by their own tools. 

For in using clubs and flints, their hands had developed a dexterity found 
nowhere else in the animal kingdom, permitting them to make stili better tools, 
which in turn had developed their limbs and brains yet further. It was an 
accelerating, cumulative process; and at its end was Man. 

The first true men had tools and weapons only a little better than those of 
their ancestors a million years earlier, but they could use them with far greater 
skill. 


And somewhere in the shadowy centuries that had gone before they had 
invented the most essential tool of all, though it could be neither seen nor 
touched. They had learned to speak, and so had won their first great victory over 
Time. Now the knowledge of one generation could be handed on to the next, so 
that each age could profit from those that had gone before. 

Unlike the animals, who knew only the present, Man had acquired a past; 
and he was beginning to grope toward a future. 

He was also learning to harness the forces of nature; with the taming of 
fire, he had laid the foundations of technology and left his animal origins far 
behind. Stone gave way to bronze, and then to iron. Hunting was succeeded by 
agriculture. The tribe grew into the village, the village into the town. Speech 
became eternal, thanks to certain marks on stone and clay and papyrus. Presently 
he invented philosophy, and religion. And he peopled the sky, not altogether 
inaccurately, with gods. 

As his body became more and more defenseless, so his means of offense 
became steadily more frightful. With stone and bronze and iron and Steel he had 
mn the gamut of everything that could pierce and slash, and quite early in time 
he had learned how to strike down his victims from a distance. The spear, the 
bow, the gun, and finally the guided missile had given him weapons of infinite 
range and all but infinite power. 



Without those weapons, often though he had used them against himself, 
Man would never have conquered his world. Into them he had put his heart and 
soul, and for ages they had served him well. 

But now, as long as they existed, he was living on borrowed time. 


II - TMA-1 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

7 - Special Flight 


No matter how many times you left Earth, Dr. Heywood Floyd told 
himself, the excitement never really palled. He had been to Mars once, to the 
Moon three times, and to the various space stations more often than he could 
remember. Yet as the moment of takeoff approached, he was conscious of a 
rising tension, a feeling of wonder and awe - yes; and of nervousness - which put 
him on the same level as any Earthlubber about to receive his first baptism of 
space. 


The jet that had rushed him here from Washington, after that midnight 
briefing with the President, was now dropping down toward one of the most 
familiar, yet most exciting, landscapes in all the world. There lay the first two 
generations of the Space Age, spanning twenty miles of the Florida coast to the 
south, outlined by winking red warning lights, were the giant gantries of the 
Saturns and Neptunes, that had set men on the path to the planets, and had now 
passed into history. Near the horizon, a gleaming silver tower bathed in 
floodlights, stood the last of the Saturn V's, for almost twenty years a national 
monument and place of pilgrimage. Not far away, looming against the sky like a 
man-made mountain, was the incredible bulk of the Vehicle Assembly Building, 
stili the largest single structure on Earth. 

But these things now belonged to the past, and he was flying toward the 
future. As they banked, Dr. Floyd could see below him a maze of buildings, then 
a great airstrip, then a broad, dead-straight scar across the fiat Florida landscape 
- the multiple rails of a giant launch-lug track. At its end, surrounded by vehicle s 
and gantries, a spaceplane lay gleaming in a pool of light, being prepared for its 
leap to the stars. In a sudden failure of perspective, brought on by his swift 
changes of speed and height, it seemed to Floyd that he was looking down on a 
small silver moth, caught in the beam of a flashlight. 



Then the tiny, scurrying figures on the ground brought home to him the 
real size of the spacecraft; it must have been two hundred feet across the narrow 
V of its wings. 

And that enormous vehicle, Floyd told himself with some incredulity - yet 
also with some pride - is waiting for me. As far as he knew, it was the first time 
that an entire mission had been set up to take a single man to the Moon. 

Though, it was two o'clock in the morning, a group of reporters and 
cameramen intercepted him on his way to the floodlit Orion III spacecraft. He 
knew several of them by sight, for as Chairman of the National Council of 
Astronautics, the news conference was part of his way of life. This was neither 
the time nor the place for one, and he had nothing to say; but it was important 
not to offend the gentlemen of the Communications media. 

“Dr. Floyd? I'm Jim Forster of Associated News. Could you give us a few 
words about this flight of yours?” 

“Fm very sorry -1 can't say anything.” 

“But you did meet with the President earlier this evening?” asked a 
familiar voice. 

“Oh - hello, Mike. I'm afraid you've been dragged out of bed for nothing. 
Definitely no comment.” 

“Can you at least confirm or deny that some kind of epidemic has broken 
out on the Moon?” a TV reporter asked, managing to jog alongside and keep 
Floyd properly framed in his miniature TV camera. 

“Sorry,” said Floyd, shaking his head. 

“What about the quarantine?” asked another reporter. “How long will it be 
kepton?” 

“Stili no comment.” 

“Dr. Floyd,” demanded a very short and determined lady of the press, 
“what possible justification can there be for this total blackout of news from the 



Moon? Has it anything to do with the political situation?” 


“What political situation?” Floyd asked dryly. There was a sprinkle of 
laughter, and someone called, “Have a good trip, Doctor!” as he made his way 
into the sanctuary of the boarding gantry. 

As long, as he could remember, it had been not a “situation” so much as a 
permanent crisis. Since the 1970s, the world had been dominated by two 
problems which, ironically, tended to cancel each other out. 

Though birth control was cheap, reliable, and endorsed by all the main 
religions, it had come too late; the population of the world was now six billion - 
a third of them in the Chinese Empire. Laws had even been passed in some 
authoritarian societies limiting families to two children, but their enforcement 
had proved impracticable. As a resuit, food was short in every country; even the 
United States had meatless days, and widespread famine was predicted within 
fifteen years, despite heroic efforts to farm the sea and to develop synthetic 
foods. 


With the need for international cooperation more urgent than ever, there 
were stili as many frontiers as in any earlier age. In a million years, the human 
race had lost few of its aggressive instincts; along symbolic lines visible only to 
politicians, the thirty-eight nuclear powers watched one another with belligerent 
anxiety. Among them, they possessed sufficient megatonnage to remove the 
entire surface crust of the planet. Although there had been - miraculously - no 
use of atomic weapons, this situation could hardly last forever. 

And now, for their own inscrutable reasons, the Chinese were offering to 
the smallest have-not nations a complete nuclear capability of fifty warheads and 
delivery systems. The cost was under $200,000,000, and easy terms could be 
arranged. 

Perhaps they were only trying to shore up their sagging economy, by 
turning obsolete weapons systems into hard cash, as some observers had 
suggested. Or perhaps they had discovered methods of warfare so advanced that 
they no longer had need of such toys; there had been talk of radio-hypnosis from 
satellite transmitters, compulsion viruses, and blackmail by synthetic diseases 
for which they alone possessed the antidote. 



These charming ideas were almost certainly propaganda or pure fantasy, 
but it was not safe to discount any of them. Every time Floyd took off from 
Earth, he wondered if it would stili be there when the time came to return. 

The trim stewardess greeted him as he entered the cabin. “Good morning, 
Dr. Floyd. I'm Miss Simmons - I'd like to welcome you aboard on behalf of 
Captain Tynes and our copilot, First Officer Ballard.” 

“Thank you,” said Floyd with a smile, wondering why stewardesses 
always had to sound like robot tour guides. 

“Takeoffs in five minutes,” she said, gesturing into the empty twenty- 
passenger cabin. “You can take any seat you want, but Captain Tynes 
recommends the forward window seat on the left, if you want to watch the 
docking operations.” 

“l'\\ do that,” he answered, moving toward the preferred seat. The 
stewardess fussed over him awhile and then moved to her cubicle at the rear of 
the cabin. 

Floyd settled down in his seat, adjusted the safety harness around waist 
and shoulders, and strapped his briefcase to the adjacent seat. A moment later, 
the loudspeaker came on with a soft popping noise. “Good morning,” said Miss 
Simmons' voice. “This is Special Flight 3, Kennedy to Space Station One.” 

She was determined, it seemed, to go through the full routine for her 
solitary passenger, and Floyd could not resist a smile as she continued 
inexorably. 

“Our transit time will be fifty-five minutes. Maximum acceleration will be 
two-gee, and we will be weightless for thirty minutes. Please do not leave your 
seat until the safety sign is lit.” 

Floyd looked over his shoulder and called, “Thank you.” He caught a 
glimpse of a slightly embarrassed but charming smile. 

He leaned back into his seat and relaxed. This trip, he calculated, would 
cost the taxpayers slightly over a million dollars. If it was not justified, he would 
be out of his job; but he could always go back to the university and to his 



interrupted studies of planetary formation. 


“Auto-countdown procedures all Go,” the captain's voice said over the 
speaker with the soothing singsong used in RT chat. “Lift-off in one minute.” 

As always, it seemed more like an hour. Floyd became acutely aware of 
the gigantic forces coiled up around him, waiting to be released. In the fuel tanks 
of the two spacecraft, and in the power storage system of the launching track, 
was pent up the energy of a nuclear bomb. And it would all be used to take him a 
mere two hundred miles from Earth. 

There was none of the old-fashioned FIVE-FOIJR-THREE-TWO-ONE- 
ZERO business, so tough on the human nervous system. 

“Launching in fifteen seconds. You will be more comfortable if you start 
breathing deeply.” 

That was good psychology, and good physiology. 

Floyd felt himself well charged with oxygen, and ready to tackle anything, 
when the launching track began to sling its thousand-ton payload out over the 
Atlantic. 

It was hard to teli when they lifted from the track and became airborne, 
but when the roar of the rockets suddenly doubled its fury, and Floyd found 
himself sinking deeper and deeper into the cushions of his seat, he knew that the 
first-stage engines had taken over. He wished he could look out of the window, 
but it was an effort even to turn his head, Yet there was no discomfort; indeed, 
the pressure of acceleration and the overwhelming thunder of the motors 
produced an extraordinary euphoria. His ears ringing, the blood pounding in his 
veins, Floyd felt more alive than he had for years. He was young again, he 
wanted to sing aloud - which was certainly safe, for no one could possibly hear 
him. 


The mood passed swiftly, as he suddenly realized that he was leaving 
Earth, and everything he had ever loved. Down there were his three children, 
motherless since his wife had taken that fatal flight to Europe ten years ago. (Ten 
years? Impossible! Yet it was so...) Perhaps, for their sake, he should have 
remarried. 



He had almost lost sense of time when the pressure and the noise abruptly 
slackened, and the cabin speaker announced: “Preparing to separate from lower 
stage. Here we go.” 

There was a slight jolt; and suddenly Floyd recalled a quotation of 
Leonardo da Vinci's which he had once seen displayed in a NASA office: 


The Great Bird will take its flight on the back of the great bird, bringing 
glory to the nest where it was born. 


Well, the Great Bird was flying now, beyond all the dreams of da Vinci, 
and its exhausted companion was winging back to earth. In a ten-thousand-mile 
arc, the empty lower stage would glide down into the atmosphere, trading speed 
for distance as it homed on Kennedy. In a few hours, serviced and refueled, it 
would be ready again to lift another companion toward the shining silence with 
it could never reach. 

Now, thought Floyd, we are on our own, more than halfway to orbit. 
When the acceleration came on again, as the upper stage rockets fired, the thrust 
was much more gentle: indeed, he felt no more than normal gravity. But it would 
have been impossible to walk, since “Up” was straight toward the front of the 
cabin. If he had been foolish enough to leave his seat, he would have crashed at 
once against the rear wall. 

This effect was a little disconcerting, for it seemed that the ship was 
standing on its tail. To Floyd, who was at the very front of the cabin, all the seats 
appeared to be fixed on a wall topping vertically beneath him. He was doing his 
best to ignore this uncomfortable illusion when dawn exploded outside the ship. 

In seconds, they shot through veils of crimson and pink and gold and blue 
into the piercing white of day. 


Though the Windows were heavily tinted to reduce the glare, the probing 
beams of sunlight that now slowly swept across the cabin left Floyd half-blinded 



for several minutes. He was in space, yet there was no question of being able to 
see the stars. 

He shielded his eyes with his hands and tried to peer through the window 
beside him. Out there the swept-back wing of the ship was blazing like white-hot 
metal in the reflected sunlight; there was utter darkness all around it, and that 
darkness must be full of stars - but it was impossible to see them. 

Weight was slowly ebbing; the rockets were being throttled back as the 
ship eased itself into orbit. The thunder of the engines dropped to a muted roar, 
then a gentle hiss, then died into silence. If it had not been for the restraining 
straps, Floyd would have floated out of his seat; his stomach felt as if it was 
going to do so anyway. He hoped that the pilis he had been given half an hour 
and ten thousand miles ago would perform as per specifications. He had been 
spacesick just once in his career, and that was much too often. 

The pilot's voice was firm and confident as it came over the cabin speaker. 
“Please observe all Zero-gee regulations. We will be docking at Space Station 
One in forty-five minutes.” 

The stewardess came walking up the narrow corridor to the right of the 
closely spaced seats. There was a slight buoyancy about her steps, and her feet 
came away from the floor reluctantly as if entangled in glue. She was keeping to 
the bright yellow band of Velcro carpeting that ran the full length of the floor - 
and of the ceiling. The carpet, and the soles of her sandals, were covered with 
myriads of tiny hooks, so that they clung together like burrs. This trick of 
walking in free fall was immensely reassuring to disoriented passengers. 

“Would you like some coffee or tea, Dr. Floyd?” she asked cheerfully. 

“No thank you,” he smiled. He always felt like a baby when he had to 
suck at one of those plastic drinking tubes. 

The stewardess was stili hovering anxiously around him as he popped 
open his briefcase and prepared to remove his papers. 

“Dr. Floyd, may I ask you a question?” 


“Certainly,” he answered, looking up over his glasses. “My fiance is a 



geologist at Clavius,” said Miss Simmons, measuring her words carefully, “and I 
haven't heard from him for over a week.” 

‘Tm sorry to hear that; maybe he's away from his base, and out of touch.” 

She shook her head. “He always telis me when that's going to happen. And 
you can imagine how worried I am - with all these rumors. Is it really true about 
an epidemic on the Moon?” 

“If it is, there's no cause for alarm.. Remember, there was a quarantine 
back in '98, over that mutated flu virus. A lot of people were sick - but no one 
died, And that's really all I can say,” he concluded firmly. 

Miss Simmons smiled pleasantly and straightened up. “Well, thank you 
anyway, Doctor. I'm sorry to have bothered you.” 

“No bother at all,” he said gallantly, but not very accurately. Then he 
buried himself in his endless technical reports, in a desperate last-minute assault 
on the usual backlog; 

He would have no time for reading when he got to the Moon. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

8 - Orbital Rendezvous 


Half an hour later the pilot announced: “We make contact in ten minutes. 
Please check your seat harness.” 

Floyd obeyed, and put away his papers. It was asking for trouble to read 
during the celestial juggling act which took place during the last 300 miles; best 
to close one's eyes and relax while the spacecraft was nudged back and forth 
with brief bursts of rocket power. 

A few minutes later he caught his first glimpse of Space Station One, only 
a few miles away. The sunlight glinted and sparkled from the polished metal 
surfaces of the slowly revolving, three-hundred-yard-diameter disk. Not far 
away, drifting in the same orbit, was a sweptback Titov-V spaceplane, and close 
to that an almost spherical Aries-IB, the workhorse of space, with the four 
stubby legs of its lunar-landing shock absorbers jutting from one side. 

The Orion III spacecraft was descending from a higher orbit, which 
brought the Earth into spectacular view behind the Station. From his altitude of 
200 miles, Floyd could see much of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. There was 
considerable cloud cover, but he could stili detect the blue-green outlines of the 
Gold Coast. 

The Central axis of the Space Station, with its docking arms extended, was 
now slowly swimming toward them. Unlike the structure from which it sprang, it 
was not rotating - or, rather, it was running in reverse at a rate which exactly 
countered the Station's own spin. Thus a visiting spacecraft could be coupled to 
it, for the transfer of personnel or cargo, without being whirled disastrously 
around. 


With the softest of thuds, ship and Station made contact. There were 



metallic, scratching noises from outside, then the brief hissing of air as pressures 
equalized. 

A few seconds later the airlock door opened, and a man wearing the light, 
close-fitting slacks and short-sleeved shirt which was almost the uniform of 
Space Station personnel came into the cabin. 

“Pleased to meet you, Dr. Floyd. I'm Nick Miller, Station Security; I'm to 
look after you until the shuttle leaves.” 

They shook hands, then Floyd smiled at the stewardess and said: “Please 
give my compliments to Captain Tynes, and thank him for the smooth ride. 
Perhaps IT1 see you on the way horne.” 

Very cautiously - it was more than a year since he had last been weightless 
and it would be some time before he regained his spacelegs - he hauled himself 
hand over hand through the airlock and into the large, circular chamber at the 
axis of the Space Station. It was a heavily padded room, its walls covered with 
recessed handholds; Floyd gripped one of these firmly while the whole chamber 
started to rotate, until it matched the spin of the Station. 

As it gained speed, faint and ghostly gravitational fingers began to clutch 
at him, and he drifted slowly toward the circular wall. Now he was standing, 
swaying back and forth gently like seaweed in the surge of the tide, on what had 
magically become a curving floor. The centrifugal force of the Station's spin had 
taken hold of him; it was very feeble here, so near the axis, but would increase 
steadily as he moved outward. 

From the Central transit chamber he followed Miller down a curving stair. 
At first his weight was so slight that he had almost to force himself downward 
by holding on to the handrail. Not until he reached the passenger lounge, on the 
outer skin of the great revolving disk, had he acquired enough weight to move 
around almost normally. 

The lounge had been redecorated since his last visit, and had acquired 
several new facilities. Besides the usual chairs, small tables, restaurant, and post 
office there were now a barber shop, drugstore, movie theater and a souvenir 
shop selling photographs and slides of lunar and planetary landscapes, 
guaranteed genuine pieces of Luniks, Rangers, and Surveyors, all neatly 



mounted in plastic, and exorbitandy priced. 


“Can I get you anything while we're waiting?” Miller asked. "We board in 
about thirty minutes?' 

“I could do with a cup of black coffee - two lumps - and I'd like to call 

Earth.” 


“Right, Doctor - I'll get the coffee - the phones are over there.” 

The picturesque booths were only a few yards from a barrier with two 
entrances labeled WELCOME TO THE U.S. SECTION and WELCOME TO 
THE SOVIET SECTION. 

Beneath these were notices which read, in English, Russian, and Chinese, 
French, German, and Spanish. 


PLEASE HAVE READY YOUR: 

Passport 

Visa 

Medical Certificate 
Transportation Permit 
Weight Declaration 


There was a rather pleasant symbolism about the fact that as soon as they 
had passed through the barriers, in either direction, passengers were free to mix 
again. The division was purely for administrative purposes. 

Floyd, after checking that the Area Code for the United States was stili 81, 
punched his twelve-digit home number, dropped his plastic all-purpose credit 



card into the pay siot, and was through in thirty seconds. 


Washington was stili sleeping, for it was several hours to dawn, but he 
would not disturb anyone. His housekeeper would get the message from the 
recorder as soon as she awoke. 

“Miss Flemming - this is Dr. Floyd. Sorry I had to leave in such a hurry. 
Would you please call my office and ask them to collect the car - it's at Dulles 
Airport and the key is with Mr. Bailey, Senior Flight Control Officer. Next, will 
you call the Chevy Chase Country Club and leave a message for the secretary. I 
definitely won't be able to play in the tennis tournament next weekend. Give my 
apologies - I'm afraid they were counting on me. Then call Downtown 
Electronies and teli them that if the video in my study isn't fixed by - oh, 
Wednesday - they can take the damn thing back.” He paused for breath, and tried 
to think of any other crises or problems that might arise during the days ahead. 

“If you run short of cash, speak to the office; they can get urgent messages 
to me, but I may be too busy to answer. Give my love to the children, and say I'll 
be back as soon as I can. Oh, hell - here's someone I don't want to see - I'll call 
from the Moon if I can - good-bye.” 

Floyd tried to duck out of the booth, but it was too late; he had already 
been spotted. Bearing down on him through the Soviet Section exit was Dr. 
Dimitri Moisevitch, of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Science. Dimitri was one of 
Floyd's best friends; and for that very reason, he was the last person he wished to 
talk to, here and now. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

9 - Moon Shuttle 


The Russian astronomer was tali, slender, and blond, and his unlined face 
belied his fifty-five years - the last ten of which had been spent building up the 
giant radio observatory on the far side of the Moon, where two thousand miles of 
solid rock would shield it from the eletronic racket of Earth. 

“Why, Heywood,” he said, shaking hands firmly. “It's a small universe... 
How are you - and your charming children?” 

“We're fine,” Floyd replied warmly, but with a slightly distracted air. “We 
often talk about the wonderful time you gave us last summer.” He was sorry he 
could not sound more sincere; they really had enjoyed a week's vacation in 
Odessa with Dimitri during one of the Russian's visits to Earth. 

“And you -1 suppose you're on your way up?” Dimitri inquired. 

“Er, yes - my flight leaves in half an hour,” answered Floyd. “Do you 
know Mr. Miller?” 

The Security Officer had now approached, and was standing at a 
respectful distance holding a plastic cup full of coffee. 

“Of course. But please put that down, Mr. Miller. This is Dr. Floyd's last 
chance to have a civilized drink - let's not waste it. No -1 insist.” 

They followed Dimitri out of the main lounge into the observation section, 
and soon were sitting at a table under a dim light watching the moving panorama 
of the stars. Space Station One revolved once a minute, and the centrifugal force 
generated by this slow spin produced an artificial gravity equal to the Moon's. 
This, it had been discovered, was a good compromise between Earth gravity and 



no gravity at ali; moreover, it gave moon-bound passengers a chance to become 
acclimatized. 

Outside the almost invisible Windows, Earth and stars marched in a silent 
procession. At the moment, this side of the Station was tilted away from the sun; 
otherwise, it would have been impossible to look out, for the lounge would have 
been blasted with light. Even as it was, the glare of the Earth, filling half the sky, 
drowned all but the brighter stars. 

But Earth was waning, as the Station orbited toward the night side of the 
planet; in a few minutes it would be a huge black disk, spangled with the lights 
of cities. And then the sky would belong to the stars. 

“Now,” said Dimitri, after he had swiftly downed his first drink and was 
toying with the second, “what's all this about an epidemic in the U.S. Sector? I 
wanted to go there on this trip. 'No, Professor,' they told me. 'We're very sorry, 
but there's a striet quarantine until further notice.' I pulled all the strings I could; 
It was no use. Now you teli me what's happening.” 

Floyd groaned inwardly. Here we go again, he said. The sooner I'm on that 
shuttle, headed for the Moon, the happier I'll be. 

“The - ah - quarantine is purely a safety precaution,” he said cautiously. 
'We're not even sure it's really necessary, but we don't believe in taking chances." 

“But what is the disease - what are the symptoms? Could it be 
extraterrestrial? Do you want any help from our medical Services?” 

“I'm sorry, Dimitri - we've been asked not to say anything at the moment. 
Thanks for the offer, but we can handle the situation.” 

“Hmm,” said Moisevitch, obviously quite unconvinced. “Seems odd to me 
that you, an astronomer, should be sent up to the Moon to look into an 
epidemic.” 

“I'm only an ex-astronomer; it's years since I did any real research. Now 
I'm a scientific expert; that means I know nothing about absolutely everything.” 

“Then do you know what TMA-1 means?” 



Miller seemed about to choke on his drink, but Floyd was made of sterner 
stuff. He looked his old friend straight in the eye, and said calmly: “TMA-1? 
What an odd expression. Where did you hear it?” 

“Never mind,” retorted the Russian. “You can't fool me. But if you've run 
into something you can't handle, I hope you don't leave it until too late before 
you yell for help.” 

Miller looked meaningfully at his watch. 

“Due to board in five minutes, Dr. Floyd,” he said. “I think we'd better get 
moving.” 

Though he knew that they stili had a good twenty minutes, Floyd got up 
with haste. Too much haste, for he had forgotten the one-sixth of a gravity. He 
grabbed the table just in time to prevent a takeoff. 

“It was fine meeting you, Dimitri,” he said, not quite accurately. “Hope 
you have a good trip down to Earth - I'll give you a call as soon as I'm back.” 

As they left the lounge, and checked through the U.S. transit barrier, 
Floyd remarked: “Phew - that was close. Thanks for rescuing me.” 

“You know, Doctor,” said the Security Officer, “I hope he isn't right.” 

“Right about what?” 

“About us running into something we can't handle.” 

“That,” Floyd answered with determination, “is what I intend to find out.” 

Forty-five minutes later, the Aries-IB lunar carrier pulled away from the 
Station. There was none of the power and fury of a takeoff from Earth - only an 
almost inaudible, far-off whistling as the low-thrust plasma jets blasted their 
electrified streams into space. The gentle push lasted for more than fifteen 
minutes, and the mild acceleration would not have prevented anyone from 
moving around the cabin. But when it was over, the ship was no longer bound to 
Earth, as it had been while it stili accompanied the Station. It had broken the 



bonds of gravity and was now a free and independent planet, circling the sun in 
an orbit of its own. 

The cabin Floyd now had all to himself had been designed for thirty 
passengers. It was strange, and rather lonely, to see all the empty seats around 
him, and to have the undivided attention of the steward and stewardess - not to 
mention pilot, copilot, and two engineers. He doubted that any man in history 
had ever received such exclusive Service, and it was most unlikely that anyone 
would do so in the future. He recalled the cynical remark of one of the less 
reputable pontiffs: “Now that we have the papacy, let us enjoy it.” Well, he 
would enjoy this tip, and the euphoria of weightlessness. With the loss of gravity 
he had - at least for a while - shed most of his cares. Someone had once said that 
you could be terrified in space, but you could not be worried there. It was 
perfectly true. 

The stewards, it appeared, were determined to make him eat for the whole 
twenty-five hours of the trip, and he was continually fending off unwanted 
meals. Eating in zero gravity was no real problem, contrary to the dark 
forebodings of the early astronauts. He sat at an ordinary table, to which the 
plates were clipped, as aboard ship in a rough sea. All the courses had some 
element of stickiness, so that they would not take off and go wandering round 
the cabin. Thus a chop would be glued to the piate by a thick sauce, and a salad 
kept under control by an adhesive dressing. With a little skill and care there were 
few items that could not be tackled safely; the only things banned were hot soups 
and excessively crumbly pastries. Drinks of course, were a different matter; all 
liquids simply had to be kept in plastic squeeze tubes. 

A whole generation of research by heroic but unsung volunteers had gone 
into the design of the washroom, and it was now considered to be more or less 
foolproof. Floyd investigated it soon after free fall had begun. He found himself 
in a little cubicle with all the fittings of an ordinary airline toilet, but illuminated 
with a red light that was very harsh and unpleasant to the eye. A notice printed in 
prominent letters announced: MOST IMPORTANT! FOR YOUR OWN 
COMFORT, PLEASE RE AD THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! 

Floyd sat down (one stili tended to do so, even when weightless) and read 
the notice several times. When he was sure that there had been no modifications 
since his last trip, he pressed the START button. 



Close at hand, an electric motor began to whirr, and Floyd felt himself 
moving. As the notice advised him to do, he closed his eyes and waited. After a 
minute, a bell chimed softly and he looked around. 

The light had now changed to a soothing pinkish-white; but, more 
important, he was under gravity again. 

Only the faintest vibration revealed that it was a spurious gravity, caused 
by the carrousel-like spin of the whole toilet compartment. Floyd picked up a 
piece of soap, and watched it drop in slow motion; he judged that the centrifugal 
force was about a quarter of a normal gravity. But that was quite enough; it 
would ensure that everything moved in the right direction, in the one place 
where this mattered most. 

He pressed the STOP FOR EXIT button, and closed his eyes again. Weight 
slowly ebbed as the rotation ceased, the bell gave a double chime, and the red 
warning light was back. The door was then locked in the right position to let him 
glide out into the cabin, where he adhered as quickly as possible to the carpet. 
He had long ago exhausted the novelty of weightlessness, and was grateful for 
the Velcro slippers that allowed him to walk almost normally. 

There was plenty to occupy his time, even if he did nothing but sit and 
read. When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would 
plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information Circuit and scan the 
latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world's major 
electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and 
had no need to consuit the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display 
unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly 
searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. 

Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage- 
stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could 
read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete 
page and select a new subject for detailed examination. 

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology 
behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect Communications. Here he 
was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, 
yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he 



pleased. (That very word “newspaper,” of course, was an anachronistic hangover 
into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; 
even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime 
doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of Information from the 
news satellites. 

It was hard to imagine how the system could be improved or made more 
convenient. But sooner or later, Floyd guessed, it would pass away, to be 
replaced by something as unimaginable as the Newspad itself would have been 
to Caxton or Gutenberg. 

There was another thought which a scanning of those tiny electronic 
headlines often invoked. The more wonderful the means of communication, the 
more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be. Accidents, crimes, 
natural and man-made disasters, threats of conflict, gloomy editorials - these stili 
seemed to be the main concern of the millions of words being sprayed into the 
ether. Yet Floyd also wondered if this was altogether a bad thing; the newspapers 
of Utopia, he had long ago decided, would be terribly dull. 

From time to time the captain and the other members of the crew came 
into the cabin and exchanged a few words with him. They treated their 
distinguished passenger with awe, and were doubtless burning with curiosity 
about his mission, but were too polite to ask any questions or even to drop any 
hints. 


Only the charming little stewardess seemed completely at ease in his 
presence. As Floyd quickly discovered, she came from Bali, and had carried 
beyond the atmosphere some of the grace and mystery of that stili largely 
unspoiled island. One of his strangest, and most enchanting, memories of the 
entire trip was her zero-gravity demonstration of some classical Balinese dance 
movements, with the lovely, blue-green crescent of the waning Earth as a 
backdrop. 

There was one sleep period, when the main cabin lights were switched off 
and Floyd fastened down his arms and legs with the elastic sheets that would 
prevent him from drifting away into space. It seemed a crude arrangement - but 
here in zero gravity his unpadded couch was more comfortable than the most 
luxurious mattress on Earth. 



When he had strapped himself in, Floyd dozed off quickly enough, but 
woke up once in a drowsy, half-conscious condition, to be completely baffled by 
his strange surroundings. For a moment he thought that be was in the middle of 
some dimly lit Chinese lantern; the faint glow from the other cubicles around 
him gave that impression. Then he said to himself, firmly and successfully: “Go 
to sleep, boy. This is just an ordinary moon shuttle.” 

When he awoke, the Moon had swallowed up half the sky, and the braking 
maneuvers were about to begin. 

The wide arc of Windows set in the curving wall of the passenger section 
now looked out onto the open sky, not the approaching globe, so he moved into 
the control cabin. Here, on the rear-view TV screens, he could watch the final 
stages of the descent. 

The approaching lunar mountains were utterly unlike those of Earth; they 
lacked the dazzling caps of snow, the green, close-fitting garments of vegetation, 
the moving crowns of cloud, Nevertheless, the fierce contrasts of light and 
shadow gave them a strange beauty of their own. The laws of earthly aesthetics 
did not apply here; this world had been shaped and molded by other than 
terrestrial forces, operating over eons of time unknown to the young, verdant 
Earth, with its fleeting Ice Ages, its swiftly rising and falling seas, its mountain 
ranges dissolving like mists before the dawn. Here was age inconceivable - but 
not death, for the Moon had never lived - until now. 

The descending ship was poised almost above the line dividing night from 
day, and directly below was a chaos of jagged shadows and brilliant, isolated 
peaks catching the first light of the slow lunar dawn. That would be a fearful 
place to attempt a landing, even with all possible electronic aids; but they were 
slowly drifting away from it, toward the night side of the Moon. 

Then Floyd saw, as his eyes grew more accustomed to the fainter 
illumination, that the night land was not wholly dark. It was aglow with a 
ghostly light, in which peaks and valleys and plains could be clearly seen. The 
Earth, a giant moon to the Moon, was flooding the land below with its radiance. 

On the pilot's panel, lights flashed above radar screens, numbers came and 
went on computer displays, clocking off the distance of the approaching Moon. 
They were stili more than a thousand miles away when weight returned as the 



jets began their gentle but steady deceleration. For ages, it seemed, the Moon 
slowly expanded across the sky, the sun sank below the horizon, and at last a 
single giant crater filled the field of view. 

The shuttle was falling toward its Central peaks - and suddenly Floyd 
noticed that near one of those peaks a brilliant light was flashing with a regular 
rhythm. It might have been an airport beacon back on Earth, and he stared at it 
with a tightening of the throat. It was proof that men had established another 
foothold on the Moon. 

Now the crater had expanded so much that its ramparts were slipping 
below the horizon, and the smaller craterlets that peppered its interior were 
beginning to disclose their real size. Some of these, tiny though they had seemed 
from far out in space, were miles across, and could have swallowed whole cities. 

Under its automatic Controls, the shuttle was sliding down the starlit sky, 
toward that barren landscape glimmering in the light of the great gibbous Earth. 
Now a voice was calling somewhere above the whistle of the jets and the 
electronic beepings that came and went through the cabin. 

“Clavius Control to Special 14, you are coming in nicely. Please make 
manual check of landing-gear lock, hydraulic pressure, shock-pad inflation.” 

The pilot pressed sundry switches, green lights flashed, and he called 
back, “All manual checks completed. Landing-gear lock, hydraulic pressure, 
shock pad O.K.” 

“Confirmed,” said the Moon, and the descent continued wordlessly. 
Though there was stili plenty of talking, it was all being done by machines, 
flashing binary impulses to one another at a thousand times the rate their slow- 
thinking makers could communicate. 

Some of the mountain peaks were already towering above the shuttle; now 
the ground was only a few thousand feet away, and the beacon light was a 
brilliant star, flashing steadily above a group of low buildings and odd vehicles. 
In the final stage of the descent, the jets seemed to be playing some strange tune; 
they pulsed on and off, making the last fine adjustments to the thrust. 


Abruptly, a swirling cloud of dust hid everything, the jets gave one final 



spurt, and the shuttle rocked very slightly, like a rowboat when a small wave 
goes by. It was some minutes before Floyd could really accept the silence that 
now enfolded him and the weak gravity that gripped his limbs. 

He had made, utterly without incident and in little more than one day, the 
incredible journey of which men had dreamed for two thousand years. After a 
normal routine flight, he had landed on the Moon. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

10 - Clavius Base 


Clavius, 150 miles in diameter, is the second largest crater on the visible 
face of the Moon, and lies in the center of the Southern Highlands. It is very old; 
ages of vulcanism and bombardment from space have scarred its walls and 
pockmarked its floor. But since the last era of crater formation, when the debris 
from the asteroid belt was stili battering the inner planets, it had known peace for 
half a billion years. 

Now there were new, strange stirrings on and below its surface, for here 
Man was establishing his first permanent bridgehead on the Moon. Clavius Base 
could, in an emergency, be entirely self-supporting. All the necessities of life 
were produced from the local rocks, - after they had been crushed, heated, and 
chemically processed. Hydrogen, oxygen; carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus - all 
these, and most of the other elements, could be found inside the Moon, if one 
knew where to look for them. The Base was a closed system, like a tiny working 
model of Earth itself, recycling all the Chemicals of life. The atmosphere was 
purified in a vast “hothouse” - a large, circular room buried just below the lunar 
surface. Under blazing lamps by night, and filtered sunlight by day, acres of 
stubby green plants grew in a warm, moist atmosphere. They were special 
mutations, designed for the express purpose of replenishing the air with oxygen, 
and providing food as a by-product. More food was produced by Chemical 
Processing systems and algae culture. Although the green scum circulating 
through yards of transparent plastic tubes would scarcely have appealed to a 
gourmet, the biochemists could convert it into chops and steaks only an expert 
could distinguish from the real thing. 

The eleven hundred men and six hundred women who made up the 
personnel of the Base were all highly trained scientists or technicians, carefully 
selected before they had left Earth. Though lunar living was now virtually free 
from the hardships, disadvantages, and occasional dangers of the early days, it 



was stili psychologically demanding, and not recommended for anyone suffering 
from claustrophobia. Since it was expensive and time-consuming to cut a large 
underground base out of solid rock or compacted lava, the Standard one-man 
“living module” was a room only about six feet wide, ten feet long, and eight 
feet high. 

Each room was attractively furnished and looked very much like a good 
motel suite, with convertible sofa, TV, small hi-fi set, and vision-phone. 
Moreover, by a simple trick of interior decoration, the one unbroken wall could 
be converted by the flip of a switch into a convincing terrestrial landscape. There 
was a choice of eight views. This touch of luxury was typical of the Base, 
though it was sometimes hard to explain its necessity to the folk back on Earth. 
Every man and woman in Clavius had cost a hundred thousand dollars in 
training and transport and housing; it was worth a little extra to maintain their 
peace of mind. This was not art for art's sake, but art for the sake of sanity. 

One of the attractions of life in the base - and on the Moon as a whole - 
was undoubtedly the low gravity, which produced a sense of general well-being. 
However, this had its dangers, and it was several weeks before an emigrant from 
Earth could adapt to it. On the Moon, the human body had to leam a whole new 
set of reflexes. It had, for the first time, to distinguish between mass and weight. 

A man who weighed one hundred eighty pounds on Earth might be 
delighted to discover that he weighed only thirty pounds on the Moon. As long 
as he moved in a straight line at a uniform speed, he felt a wonderful sense of 
buoyancy. But as soon as he attempted to change course, to turn corners, or to 
stop suddenly - then he would find that his full one hundred eighty pounds of 
mass, or inertia, was stili there. For that was fixed and unalterable - the same on 
Earth, Moon, Sun, or in free space. Before one could be properly adapted to 
lunar living, therefore, it was essential to learn that ali objects were now six 
times as sluggish as their mere weight would suggest. It was a lesson usually 
driven horne by numerous collisions and hard knocks, and old lunar hands kept 
their distance from newcomers until they were acclimatized. 

With its complex of workshops, offices, storerooms, computer center, 
generators, garage, kitchen, laboratories, and food-processing piant, Clavius 
Base was a miniature world in itself. And, ironically, many of the skills that had 
been used to build this underground empire had been developed during the half 
century of the Cold War. 



Any man who had ever worked in a hardened missile site would have felt 
at home in Clavius. Here on the Moon were the same arts and hardware of 
underground living, and of protection against a hostile environment; but here 
they had been turned to the purposes of peaee. 

After ten thousand years, man had at last found something as exciting as 
war. Unfortunately, not all nations had yet realized that fact. 

The mountains that had been so prominent just before landing had 
mysteriously disappeared, hidden from sight below the steeply curving lunar 
horizon. Around the spacecraft was a flat, gray plain; brilliantly lit by the 
slanting earthlight. Although the sky was, of course, completely black, only the 
brighter stars and planets could be seen, unless the eyes were shaded from the 
surface glare. 

Several very odd vehicles were rolling up to the Aries-IB spaceship - 
cranes, hoists, servicing trucks - some automatic, some operated by a driver in a 
small pressure cabin. Most of them moved on balloon tires, for this smooth, level 
plain posed no transportation difficulties; but one tanker rolled on the peculiar 
flex-wheels which had proved one of the best all-purpose ways of getting around 
on the Moon. A series of flat plates arranged in a circle, each piate independently 
mounted and sprung, the flex-wheel had many of the advantages of the 
Caterpillar track from which it had evolved. It would adapt its shape and 
diameter to the terrain over which it was moving, and, unlike a Caterpillar track, 
would continue to function even if a few sections were missing. 

A small bus with an extension tube like a stubby elephant trunk was now 
nuzzling affectionately up against the spacecraft. A few seconds later, there were 
bangings and bumpings from outside, followed by the sound of hissing air as 
connections were made and pressure was equalized. The inner door of the 
airlock opened, and the welcoming delegation entered. 

It was led by Ralph Halvorsen, the Administrator of the Southern Province 
- which meant not only the Base but also any exploring parties that operated 
from it. 


With him was his Chief Scientist, Dr. Roy Michaels, a grizzled little 
geophysicist whom Floyd knew from previous visits, and half a dozen senior 



scientists and executives. They greeted him with respectful relief; from the 
Administrator downward, it was obvious that they looked forward to a chance of 
unloading some of their worries. 

“Very pleased to have you with us, Dr. Floyd,” said Halvorsen. “Did you 
have a good trip?” 

“Excellent,” Floyd answered. “It couldn't have been better. The crew 
looked after me very well.” He exchanged the usual small talk that courtesy 
demanded while the bus rolled away from the spacecraft; by unspoken 
agreement, no one mentioned the reason for his visit. After traveling a thousand 
feet from the landing site, the bus came to a large sign which read: 


WELCOME TO CLAVIUS BASE 
U.S. Astronautical Engineering Corps 
1994 


It then dived into a cutting which took it quickly below ground level. A 
massive door opened ahead, then closed behind them. This happened again, and 
yet a third time. When the last door had closed, there was a great roaring of air, 
and they were back in atmosphere once more, in the shirt-sleeve environment of 
the Base. 

After a short walk through a tunnel packed with pipes and cables, and 
echoing hollowly with rhythmic thumpings and throbbings, they arrived in 
executive territory, and Floyd found himself back in the familiar environment of 
typewriters, office computers, girl assistants, wall charts, and ringing telephones. 
As they paused outside the door labeled ADMINISTRATOR, Halvorsen said 
diplomatically: “Dr. Floyd and I will be along to the briefing room in a couple of 
minute s.” 


The others nodded, made agreeable sounds, and drifted off down the 
corridor. But before Halvorsen could usher Floyd into his office, there was an 



interruption, The door opened, and a small figure hurled itself at the 
Administrator. 


“Daddy! You've been Topside! And you promised to take me!” 

“Now, Diana,” said Halvorsen, with exasperated tenderness, “I only said 
I'd take you if I could. But I've been very busy meeting Dr. Floyd. Shake hands 
with him - he's just come from Earth.” 

The little girl - Floyd judged that she was about eight - extended a limp 
hand. Her face was vaguely familiar, and Floyd suddenly became aware that the 
Administrator was looking at him with a quizzical smile. With a shock of 
recollection, he understood why. 

“I don't believe it!” he exclaimed. “When I was here last she was just a 

baby!” 


“She had her fourth birthday last week,” Halvorsen answered proudly. 
“Children grow fast in this low gravity. But they don't age so quickly - they'11 
live longer than we do.” 

Floyd stared in fascination at the self-assured little lady, noting the 
graceful carriage and the unusually delicate bone structure. “It's nice to meet you 
again, Diana,” he said. Then something - perhaps sheer curiosity, perhaps 
politeness - impelled him to add: “Would you like to go to Earth?” 

Her eyes widened with astonishment; then she shook her head. 

“It's a nasty place; you hurt yourself when you fall down. Besides, there 
are too many people,” 

So here, Floyd told himself, is the first generation of the Spaceborn; there 
would be more of them in the years to come. Though there was sadness in this 
thought, there was also a great hope. When Earth was tamed and tranquil, and 
perhaps a little tired, there would stili be scope for those who loved freedom, for 
the tough pioneers, the restless adventurers. But their tools would not be ax and 
gun and canoe and wagon; they would be nuclear power piant and plasma drive 
and hydroponic farm. The time was fast approaching when Earth, like all 
mothers, must say farewell to her children. 



With a mixture of threats and promises, Halvorsen managed to evict his 
determined offspring and led Floyd into the office. The Administratori suite was 
only about fifteen feet square, but it managed to contain all the fittings and status 
symbols of the typical $50,000 a year head of a department. Signed photographs 
of important politicians - including the President of the United States and the 
Secretary General of the United Nations - adorned one wall, while signed photos 
of celebrated astronauts covered most of another. 

Floyd sank into a comfortable leather chair and was given a glass of 
“sherry,” courtesy of the lunar biochemical labs. “How's it going, Ralph?” Floyd 
asked, sipping the drink with caution, then with approval. 

“Not too bad,” Halvorsen replied. “However, there is something you'd 
better know about, before you go in there.” 

"What is it?' 

“Well, I suppose you could describe it as a morale problem,” Halvorsen 

sighed. 


“Oh?” 

“It isn't serious yet, but it's getting there fast.” “The news blackout,” Floyd 
said flatly. “Right,” Halvorsen replied. “My people are getting very steamed up 
about it. After all, most of them have families back on Earth; they probably 
believe they're all dead of moon-plague.” 

“I'm sorry about that,” said Floyd, “but no one could think of a better 
cover story, and so far it's worked. By the way - I met Moisevitch at the Space 
Station, and even he bought it.” 

“Well, that should make Security happy.” 

“Not too happy - he'd heard of TMA-1; rumors are beginning to leak out. 
But we just can't issue any statement, until we know what the damn thing is and 
whether our Chinese friends are behind it.” 


“Dr. Michaels thinks he has the answer to that. Hei dying to teli you.” 



Floyd drained his glass. “And I'm dying to hear him. Let's go.” 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

11 - Anomaly 


The briefing took place in a large rectangular chamber that could hold a 
hundred people with ease. It was equipped with the latest optical and electronic 
displays and would have looked like a model conference room but for the 
numerous posters, pinups, notices, and amateur paintings which indicated that it 
was also the center of the local cultural life. Floyd was particularly struck by a 
collection of signs, obviously assembled with loving care, which carried such 
messages as PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS... NO PARKING ON EVEN 
DAYS... DEFENSE DE FUMER... TO THE BEACH... CATTLE CROSSING... 
SOFT SHOULDERS and DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. If these were 
genuine - as they certainly appeared to be - their transportation from Earth had 
cost a small fortune. There was a touching defiance about them; on this hostile 
world, men could stili joke about the things they had been forced to leave behind 
- and which their children would never miss. 

A crowd of forty or fifty people was waiting for Floyd, and everyone rose 
politely as he entered behind the Administrator. As he nodded at several familiar 
faces, Floyd whispered to Halvorsen “I'd like to say a few words before the 
briefing.” 

Floyd sat down in the front row, while the Administrator ascended the 
rostrum and looked round his audience. 

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Halvorsen began, “I needn't teli you that this is a 
very important occasion. We are delighted to have Dr. Heywood Floyd with us. 
We all know him by reputation, and many of us are acquainted with him 
personally. He has just completed a special flight from Earth to be here, and 
before the briefing he has a few words for us. Dr. Floyd,” Floyd walked to the 
rostrum amid a sprinkling of polite applause, surveyed the audience with a smile, 
and said: “Thank you - I only want to say this. The President has asked me to 



convey his appreciation of your - outstanding work, which we hope the world 
will soon be able to recognize. I'm quite aware,” he continued carefully, “that 
some of you - perhaps most of you - are anxious that the present veil of secrecy 
be withdrawn; you would not be scientists if you thought otherwise.” He caught 
a glimpse of Dr. Michaels, whose face was creased in a slight frown which 
brought out a long scar down his right cheek - presumably the aftermath of some 
accident in space. The geologist, he was well aware, had been protesting 
vigorously against what he called this “cops and robbers nonsense.” 

“But I would remind you,” Floyd continued, "that this is a quite 
extraordinary situation. We must be absolutely sure of our own facts; if we make 
errors now, there may be no second chance - so please be patient a little longer. 
Those are also the wishes of the President. 

“That's all I have to say. Now I'm ready for your report.” 

He walked back to his seat; the Administrator said, 'Thank you very 
much, Dr. Floyd," and nodded, rather brusquely, to his Chief Scientist. On cue, 
Dr. Michaels walked up to the rostrum, and-the lights faded out. 

A photograph of the Moon flashed onto the screen. At the very center of 
the disk was a brilliant white crater ring, from which a striking pattern of rays 
fanned out. It looked exactly as if someone had hurled a bag of flour at the face 
of the Moon, and it had spattered out in all directions. 

“This is Tycho,” said Michaels, pointing to the Central crater. “On this 
vertical photograph Tycho is even more conspicuous than when seen from Earth; 
then it's rather near the edge of the Moon. But observed from this viewpoint - 
looking straight down from a thousand miles up - you'll see how it dominates an 
entire hemisphere.” 

He let Floyd absorb this unfamiliar view of a familiar object, then 
continued: “During the past year we have been conducting a magnetic survey of 
the region, from a low-level satellite. It was completed only last month, and this 
is the resuit... the map that started all the trouble.” 

Another picture flashed on the screen; it looked like a contour map, 
though it showed magnetic intensity, not heights above sea level. For the most 
part, the lines were roughly parallel and spaced well apart; but in one corner of 



the map they became suddenly packed together, to form a series of concentric 
circles - like a drawing of a knothole in a piece of wood. 

Even to an untrained eye, it was obvious that something peculiar had 
happened to the Moon's magnetic field in this region; and in large letters across 
the bottom of the map were the words: TYCHO MAGNETIC ANOMALY-ONE 
(TMA-1). Stamped on the top right was CLASSIFIED. 

"At first we thought it might be an outcrop of magnetic rock, but ali the 
geological evidence was against it. And not even a big nickel-iron meteorite 
could produce a field as intense as this; so we decided to have a look. 

"The first party discovered nothing - just the usual level terrain, buried 
beneath a very thin layer of moon-dust. They sank a drill in the exact center of 
the magnetic field to get a core sample for study. Twenty feet down, the drill 
stopped. So the survey party started to dig - not an easy job in spacesuits, as I 
can assure you. 

“What they found brought them back to Base in a hurry. We sent out a 
bigger team, with better equipment. They excavated for two weeks - with the 
resuit you know.” 

The darkened assembly room became suddenly hushed and expectant as 
the picture on the screen changed. Though everyone had seen it many times, 
there was not a person who failed to erane forward as if hoping to find new 
details. On Earth and Moon, less than a hundred people had so far been allowed 
to set eyes on this photograph. 

It showed a man in a bright red and yellow spacesuit standing at the 
bottom of an excavation and supporting a surveyor's rod marked off in tenths of 
a meter. It was obviously a night shot, and might have been taken anywhere on 
the Moon or Mars. But until now no planet had ever produced a scene like this. 

The object before which the spacesuited man was posing was a vertical 
slab of jet-black material, about ten feet high and five feet wide: it reminded 
Floyd, somewhat ominously, of a giant tombstone. Perfectly sharp-edged and 
symmetrical, it was so black it seemed to have swallowed up the light falling 
upon it; there was no surface detail at all. It was impossible to teli whether it was 
made of stone or metal or plastic - or some material altogether unknown to man. 



“TMA-1,” Dr. Michaels declared, almost reverently. "It looks brand new, 
doesn't it? I can hardly blame those who thought it was just a few years old, and 
tried to connect it with the third Chinese Expedition, back in '98. But I never 
believed that - and now we've been able to date it positively, from local 
geological evidence. 

"My colleagues and I, Dr. Floyd, will stake our reputations on this. TMA- 
1 has nothing to do with the Chinese. Indeed, it has nothing to do with the human 
race - for when it was buried, there were no humans. 

“You see, it is approximately three million years old. What you are now 
looking at is the first evidence of intelligent life beyond the Earth.” 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

12 - Journey by Earthlight 


MACRO-CRATER PRO VINCE: Extends S from near center of visible 
face of moon, E of Central Crater Province. Densely pocked with impact craters; 
many large, and including the largest on moon; in N some craters fractured from 
impact forming Mare Imbrium. Rough surfaces almost everywhere, except for 
some crater bottoms. Most surfaces in slopes, mostly 10° to 12°; some crater 
bottoms nearly level. 

LANDING AND MOVEMENT: landing generally difficult because of 
rough, sloping surfaces; less difficult in some level crater bottoms. Movement 
possible almost everywhere but route selection required; less difficult on some 
level crater bottoms. 

CONSTRUCTION: Generally moderately difficult because of slope, and 
numerous large blocks in loose material; excavation of lava difficult in some 
crater bottoms. 

TYCHO: Post-Maria crater, 54 miles diameter, rim 7,900 feet above 
surroundings; bottom 12,000 feet deep; has the most prominent ray system on 
the moon, some rays extending more than 500 miles. 

(Extract from “Engineer Special Study of the Surface of the Moon,” 
Office, Chief of Engineers, Department of the Army. U.S. Geological Survey, 
Washington, 1961.) 


The mobile lab now rolling across the crater plain at fifty miles an hour 
looked rather like an outsized trailer mounted on eight flex-wheels. But it was 
very much more than this; it was a self-contained base in which twenty men 



could live and work for several weeks. Indeed, it was virtually a landgoing 
spaceship - and in an emergency it could even fly. If it came to a ere vas se or 
canyon which was too large to detour, and too steep to enter, it could hop across 
the obstacle on its four underjets. 

As he peered out of the window, Floyd could see stretehing ahead of him a 
well-defined trail, where dozens of vehicles had left a hard-packed band in the 
friable surface of the Moon. At regular intervals along the track were tali, 
slender rods, each carrying a flashing light. No one could possibly get lost on the 
200-mile journey from Clavius Base to TMA-1, even though it was stili night 
and the sun would not rise for several hours. 

The stars overhead were only a little brighter, or more numerous, than on a 
ciear night from the high plateaus of New Mexico or Colorado. But there were 
two things in that coal-black sky that destroyed any illusion of Earth. 

The first was Earth itself - a blazing beacon hanging above the northern 
horizon. The light pouring down from that giant half-globe was dozens of times 
more brilliant than the full moon, and it covered ali this land with a cold, blue- 
green phosphorescence. 

The second celestial apparition was a faintt, pearly cone of light slanting 
up the eastern sky. It became brighter and brighter toward the horizon, hinting of 
great fires just concealed below the edge of the Moon. 

Here was a pale glory that no man had ever seen from Earth, save during 
the few moments of a total eclipse. It was the corona, harbinger of the lunar 
dawn, giving notice that before long the sun would smite this sleeping land. 

As he sat with Halvorsen and Michaels in the forward observation lounge, 
immediately beneath the driver's position, Floyd found his thoughts turning 
again and again to the three-million-year-wide gulf that had just opened up 
before him. Like ali scientifically literate men, he was used to considering far 
longer periods of time - but they had concerned only the movements of stars and 
the slow cycles of the inanimate universe. Mind or intelligence had not been 
involved; those eons were empty of ali that touched the emotions. 

Three million years! The infinitely crowded panorama of written history, 
with its empires and its kings, its triumphs and its tragedies, covered barely one 



thousandth of this appalling span of time. Not only Man himself, but most of the 
animals now alive on Earth, did not even exist when this black enigma was so 
carefully buried here, in the most brilliant and most spectacular of all the craters 
of the Moon. 

That it had been buried, and quite deliberately, Dr. Michaels was 
absolutely sure. “At first,” he explained, "I rather hoped it might mark the site of 
some underground structure, but our latest excavations have eliminated that. It's 
sitting on a wide platform of the same 

black material, with undisturbed rock beneath it. The - creatures - who 
designed it wanted to make sure it stayed put, barring major moonquakes. They 
were building for eternity." 

There was triumph, and yet sadness, in Michaels' voice, and Floyd could 
share both emotions. At last, one of man's oldest questions had been answered; 
here was the proof, beyond all shadow of doubt, that his was not the only 
intelligence that the universe had brought forth. But with that knowledge there 
came again an aching awareness of the immensity of Time. Whatever had passed 
this way had missed mankind by a hundred thousand generations. Perhaps, 
Floyd told himself, it was just as well. And yet - what we might have learned 
from creatures who could cross space, while our ancestors were stili living in 
trees! 


A few hundred yards ahead, a signpost was coming up over the Moon's 
strangely close horizon. At its base was a tent-shaped structure covered with 
shining sil ver foil, obviously for protection against the fierce heat of day. As the 
bus rolled by, Floyd was able to read in the brilliant earthlight: 


EMERGENCY DEPOT No. 3 
20 Kilos Lox 
10 Kilos Water 


20 Foodpaks Mk 4 



1 Toolkit Type B 


1 Suit Repair Outfit 
! TELEPHONE ! 


“Have you thought of that?” asked Floyd, pointing out of the window. 
“Suppose the thing's a supply cache, left behind by an expedition that never 
returned?” 


“It's a possibility,” admitted Michaels. “That magnetic field certainly 
labeled its position, so that it could be easily found. But it's rather small - it 
couldn't hold much in the way of supplies.” 

“Why not?” interjected Halvorsen. “Who knows bow big they were? 
Perhaps they were only six inches tali, which would make the thing twenty or 
thirty stories high.” 

Michaels shook his head. “Out of the question,” he protested. “You can't 
have very small, intelligent creatures; you need a minimum brain size.” 

Michaels and Halvorsen, Floyd had noticed, usually took opposing 
viewpoints, yet there appeared to be little personal hostility or friction between 
them. They seemed to respect each other, and simply agreed to disagree. 

There was certainly little agreement anywhere about the nature of TMA-1 
- or the Tycho Monolith, as some preferred to call it, retaining part of the 
abbreviation. 

In the six hours since he had landed on the Moon, Floyd had heard a 
dozen theories, but had committed himself to none. Shrine, survey marker, tomb, 
geophysical instrument - these were perhaps the favorite suggestions, and some 
of the protagonists grew very heated in their defense. A good many bets had- 
already been placed, and a lot of money would change hands when the truth was 
finally known - if, indeed, it ever was. So far, the hard black material of the slab 
had resisted all the rather mild attempts that Michaels and his colleagues had 
made to obtain samples. They had no doubt that a laser beam would cut into it - 



for, surely, nothing could resist that frightful concentration of energy - but the 
decision to employ such violent measures would be left to Floyd. He had already 
decided that X rays, sonic probes, neutron beams, and all other nondestructive 
means of investigation would be brought into play before he called up the heavy 
artillery of the laser. It was the mark of a barbarian to destroy something one 
could not understand; but perhaps men were barbarians, beside the creatures who 
had made this thing. 

And where could they have come from? The Moon itself? No, that was 
utterly impossible. If there had ever been indigenous life on this barren world, it 
had been destroyed during the last crater-forming epoch, when most of the lunar 
surface was white-hot. 

Earth? Very unlikely, though perhaps not quite impossible. Any advanced 
terrestrial civilization - presumably a nonhuman one - back in the Pleistocene 
Era would have left many other traces of its existence. We would have known all 
about it, thought Floyd, long before we got to the Moon. 

That left two alternatives - the planets, and the stars. 

Yet all the evidence was against intelligent life elsewhere in the Solar 
System - or indeed life of any kind except on Earth and Mars. The inner planets 
were too hot, the outer ones far too cold, unless one descended into their 
atmosphere to depths where the pressures amounted to hundreds of tons to the 
square inch. 

So perhaps these visitors had come from the stars - yet that was even more 
incredible. As he looked up at the constellations strewn across the ebon lunar 
sky, Floyd remembered how often his fellow scientists had “proved” that 
interstellar travel was impossible. The journey from Earth to Moon was stili 
fairly impressive, but the very nearest star was a hundred million times more 
distant... Speculation was a waste of time; he must wait until there was more 
evidence, 

“Please fasten your seat belts and secure all loose objects,” said the cabin 
speaker suddenly. “Forty degree slope approaching.” 

Two marker posts with winking lights had appeared on the horizon, and 
the bus was steering between them. 



Floyd had barely adjusted his straps when the vehicle slowly edged itself 
over the brink of a really terrifying incline, and began to descend a long, rubble- 
covered slope as steep as the roof of a house. The slanting earth-light, coming 
from behind them, now gave very little illumination, and the bus's own 
floodlights had been switched on. Many years ago Floyd had stood on the lip of 
Vesuvius, staring into the crater; he could easily imagine that he was now driving 
down into it and the sensation was not a very pleasant one. 

They were descending one of the inner terraces of Tycho, and it leveled 
out again some thousand feet below. As they crawled down the slope, Michaels 
pointed out across the great expanse of plain now spread out beneath them. 

“There they are,” he exclaimed. Floyd nodded; he had already noticed the 
cluster of red and green lights several miles ahead, and kept his eyes fixed upon 
it as the bus edged its way delicately down the slope. The big vehicle was 
obviously under perfect control, but he did not breathe easily until it was once 
more on an even keel. 

Now he could see, glistening like silver bubbles in the earthlight, a group 
of pressure domes - the temporary shelters housing the workers on the site. Near 
these was a radio tower, a drilling rig, a group of parked vehicles, and a large 
pile of broken rock, presumably the material that had been excavated to reveal 
the monolith. This tiny camp in the wilderness looked very lonely, very 
vulnerable to the forces of nature ranged silently around it. There was no sign of 
life, and no visible hint as to why men had come here, so far from horne. 

“You can just see the crater,” said Michaels. “Over there on the right - 
about a hundred yards from that radio antenna.” 

So this is it, thought Floyd, as the bus rolled past the pressure domes, and 
came to the lip of the crater. 

His pulse quickened as he craned forward for a better view. The vehicle 
began to creep cautiously down a ramp of hard-packed rock, into the interior of 
the crater. And there, exactly as he had seen it in the photographs, was TMA-1. 

Floyd stared, blinked, shook his head, and stared again. Even in the 
brilliant earthlight, it was hard to see the object clearly; his first impression was 



of a flat rectangle that might have been cut oiit of carbon paper; it seemed to 
have no thickness at ali. Of course, this was an optical illusion; though he was 
looking at a solid body, it reflected so little light that he could see it only in 
silhouette. 

The passengers were utterly silent as the bus descended into the crater. 
There was awe, and there was also incredulity - sheer disbelief that the dead 
Moon, of all worlds, could have sprung this fantastic surprise. 

The bus came to a halt within twenty feet of the slab and broadside on so 
that all the passengers could examine it. Yet, beyond the geometrically perfect 
shape of the thing, there was little to see. Nowhere were there any marks, or any 
abatement of its ultimate, ebon blackness. It was the very crystallization of night, 
and for one moment Floyd wondered if it could indeed be some extraordinary 
natural formation, born of the fires and pressures attending the creation of the 
Moon. But that remote possibility, he knew, had already been examined and 
dismissed. 

At some signal, floodlights around the lip of the crater were switched on, 
and the bright earthlight was obliterated by a far more brilliant glare. In the lunar 
vacuum the beams were, of course, completely invisible; they formed 
overlapping ellipses of blinding white, centered on the monolith. And where 
they touched it, its ebon surface seemed to swallow them. 

Pandora's box, thought Floyd, with a sudden sense of foreboding - waiting 
to be opened by inquisitive Man. 


And what will he find inside? 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

13 - The Slow Dawn 


The main pressure dome at the TMA-1 site was only twenty feet across, 
and its interior was uncomfortably crowded. The bus, coupled to it through one 
of the two airlocks, gave some much-appreciated extra living room. 

Inside this hemispherical, double-walled balloon lived, worked, and slept 
the six scientists and technicians now permanently attached to the project. It also 
contained most of their equipment and instruments, ali the Stores that could not 
be left in the vacuum outside, cooking, washing, and toilet facilities, geological 
samples and a small TV screen through which the site could be kept under 
continuous surveillance. 

Floyd was not surprised when Halvorsen elected to remain in the dome; he 
stated his views with admirable frankness. 

“I regard spacesuits as a necessary evil,” said the Administrator, “I wear 
one four times a year, for my quarterly checkout tests. If you don't mind, IT1 sit 
here and watch over the TV.” 

Some of this prejudice was now unjustified, for the latest models were 
infinitely more comfortable than the clumsy suits of armor worn by the first 
lunar explorers. They could be put on in less than a minute, even without help, 
and were quite automatic. The Mk V into which Floyd was now carefully sealed 
would protect him from the worst that the Moon could do, either by day or by 
night. 


Accompanied by Dr. Michaels, he walked into the small airlock. As the 
throbbing of the pumps died away, and his suit stiffened almost imperceptibly 
around him, he felt himself enclosed in the silence of vacuum. 



That silence was broken by the welcome sound of his suit radio. 


“Pressure O.K., Dr. Floyd? Are you breathing normally?” 

“Yes - I'm fine.” 

His companion carefully checked the dials and gauges on the outside of 
Floyd's suit. Then he said: 

“O.K.-lefs go.” 

The outer door opened, and the dusty moonscape lay before them, 
glimmering in the earthlight. 

With a cautious, waddling movement, Floyd followed Michaels through 
the lock. It was not hard to walk; indeed, in a paradoxical way the suit made him 
feel more at horne than at any time since reaching the Moon. Its extra weight, 
and the slight resistance it imposed on his motion, gave some of the illusion of 
the lost terrestrial gravity. 

The scene had changed since the party had arrived barely an hour ago. 
Though the stars, and the half-earth, were stili as bright as ever, the fourteen-day 
lunar night had almost ended. The glow of the corona was like a false moonrise 
along the eastern sky - and then, without warning, the tip of the radio mast a 
hundred feet above Floyd's head suddenly seemed to burst into flame, as it 
caught the first rays of the hidden sun. 

They waited while the project supervisor and two of his assistants emerged 
from the airlock, then walked slowly toward the crater. By the time they had 
reached it, a thin bow of unbearable incandescence had thrust itself above the 
eastern horizon. Though it would take more than an hour for the sun to ciear the 
edge of the slowly turning moon, the stars were already banished. The crater was 
stili in shadow, but the floodlights mounted around its rim lit the interior 
brilliantly. As Floyd walked slowly down the ramp toward the black rectangle, 
he felt a sense not only of awe but of helplessness. Here, at the very portals of 
Earth, man was already face to face with a mystery that might never be solved. 
Three million years ago, something had passed this way, had left this unknown 
and perhaps unknowable Symbol of its-purpose, and had returned to the planets - 
or to the stars. 



FloycTs suit radio interrupted his reverie. "Project supervisor speaking. If 
you'd all line up on this side, we'd like to take a few photos. Dr. Floyd, will you 
stand in the middle - Dr. Michaels - thank you. No one except Floyd seemed to 
think that there was anything funny about this. In all honesty, he had to admit 
that he was glad someone had brought a camera; here was a photo that would 
undoubtedly be historic, and he wanted copies for himself. He hoped that his 
face would be clearly visible through the helmet of the suit. 

“Thanks, gentlemen,” said the photographer, after they had posed 
somewhat self-consciously in front of the monolith, and he had made a dozen 
exposures. 

“We'll ask the Base Photo Section to send you copies.” Then Floyd turned 
his full attention to the ebon slab - walking slowly around it, examining it from 
every angle, trying to imprint its strangeness upon his mind. 

He did not expect to find anything, for he knew that every square inch had 
already been gone over with microscopic care. 

Now the sluggish sun had lifted itself above the edge of the crater, and its 
rays were pouring almost broadside upon the eastern face of the block. Yet it 
seemed to absorb every particle of light as if it had never been. 

Floyd decided to try a simple experiment; he stood between the monolith 
and the sun, and looked for his own shadow on the smooth black sheet. There 
was no trace of it. At least ten kilowatts of raw heat must be falling on the slab; 
if there was anything inside, it must be rapidly cooking. 

How strange, Floyd thought, to stand here while - this thing - is seeing 
daylight for the first time since the Ice Ages began on Earth. He wondered again 
about its black color; that was ideal, of course, for absorbing solar energy. But he 
dismissed the thought at once; for who would be crazy enough to bury a 
sunpowered device twenty feet underground? 

He looked up at the Earth, beginning to wane in the morning sky. Only a 
handful of the six billion people there knew of this discovery; how would the 
world react to the news when it was finally released? The political and social 
implications were immense; every person of real intelligence - everyone who 



looked an inch beyond his nose - would find his life, his values, his philosophy, 
subtly changed. Even if nothing whatsoever was discovered about TMA-1, and it 
remained an eternal mystery, Man would know that he was not unique in the 
universe. Though he had missed them by millions of years, those who had once 
stood here might yet return: and if not, there might well be others. Ali futures 
must now contain this possibility. 

Floyd was stili musing over these thoughts when his helmet speaker 
suddenly emitted a piercing electronic shriek, like a hideously overloaded and 
distorted time signal. Involuntarily, he tried to block his ears with his spacesuited 
hands; then he recovered and groped frantically for the gain control of his 
receiver. While he was stili fumbling four more of the shrieks blasted out of the 
ether; then there was a merciful silence. 

All around the crater, figures were standing in attitudes of paralyzed 
astonishment. So it's nothing wrong with my gear, Floyd told himself; everyone 
heard those piercing electronic screams. 

After three million years of darkness, TMA-1 had greeted the lunar dawn. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

14 - The Listeners 


A hundred million miles beyond Mars, in the cold loneliness where no 
man had yet traveled, Deep Space Monitor 79 drifted slowly among the tangled 
orbits of the asteroids. For three years it had fulfilled its mission flawlessly - a 
tribute to the American scientists who had designed it, the British engineers who 
had built it, the Russian technicians who had launched it. A delicate spider's-web 
of antennas sampled the passing waves of radio noise - the ceaseless crackle and 
hiss of what Pascal, in a far simpler age, had naively called the “silence of 
infinite space.” Radiation detectors noted and analyzed incoming cosmic rays 
from the galaxy and points beyond; neutron and X-ray telescopes kept watch on 
strange stars that no human eye would ever see; magnetometers observed the 
gusts and hurricanes of the solar winds, as the Sun breathed million-mile-an- 
hour blasts of tenuous plasma into the faces of its circling children. All these 
things, and many others, were patiently noted by Deep Space Monitor 79, and 
recorded in its crystalline memory. 

One of its antennas, by now unconsidered miracles of electronics, was 
always aimed at a point never far from the Sun. Every few months its distant 
target could have been seen, had there been any eye here to watch, as a bright 
star with a close, fainter companion; but most of the time it was lost in the solar 
glaze. 


To that far-off planet Earth, every twenty-four hours, the monitor would 
send the information it had patiently garnered, packed neatly into one five- 
minute pulse. About a quarter of an hour late, traveling at the speed of light, that 
pulse would reach its destination. The machines whose duty it was would be 
waiting for it; they would amplify and record the signal, and add it to the 
thousands of miles of magnetic tape now stored in the vaults of the World Space 
Centers at Washington, Moscow, and Canberra. 



Since the first satellites had orbited, almost fifty years earlier, trillions and 
quadrillions of pulses of Information had been pouring down from space, to be 
stored against the day when they might contribute to the advance of knowledge. 
Only a minute fraction of all this raw material would ever be processed; but 
there was no way of telling what observation some scientist might wish to 
consuit, ten, or fifty, or a hundred years from now. So everything had to be kept 
on file, stacked in endless air-conditioned galleries, triplicated at the three 
centers against the possibility of accidental loss. It was part of the real treasure 
of mankind, more valuable than all the gold locked uselessly away in bank 
vaults. 


And now Deep Space Monitor 19 had noted something strange - a faint 
yet unmistakable disturbance rippling across the Solar System, and quite unlike 
any natural phenomenon it had ever observed in the past. Automatically, it 
recorded the direction, the time, the intensity; in a few hours it would pass the 
Information to Earth. 

As, also, would Orbiter M 15, circling Mars twice a day; and High 
Inclination Probe 21, climbing slowly above the plane of the ecliptic; and even 
Artificial Comet 5, heading out into the cold wastes beyond Pluto, along an orbit 
whose far point it would not reach for a thousand years. All noted the peculiar 
burst of energy that had disturbed their instruments; all, in due course, reported 
back automatically to the memory Stores on distant Earth. 

The computers might never have perceived the connection between four 
peculiar sets of signals from space-probes on independent orbits millions of 
miles apart. But as soon as he glanced at his morning report, the Radiation 
Forecaster at Goddard knew that something strange had passed through the Solar 
System during the last twenty-four hours. 

He had only part of its track, but when the computer projected it on the 
Planet Situation Board, it was as ciear and unmistakable as a vapor trail across a 
cloudless sky, or a single line of footprints over a field of virgin snow. 

Some immaterial pattern of energy, throwing off a spray of radiation like 
the wake of a racing speedboat, had leaped from the face of the Moon, and was 
heading out toward the stars. 



III - BETWEEN PLANETS 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

15 - Discovery 


The ship was stili only thirty days from Earth, yet David Bowman 
sometimes found it hard to believe that be had ever known any other existence 
than the closed little world of Discovery. All his years of training, all his earlier 
missions to the Moon and Mars, seemed to belong to another man, in another 
life. 


Frank Poole admitted to the same feelings, and had sometimes jokingly 
regretted that the nearest psychiatrist was the better part of a hundred million 
miles away. But this sense of isolation and estrangement was easy enough to 
understand, and certainly indicated no abnormality. In the fifty years since men 
had ventured into space, there had never been a mission quite like this. 

It had begun, five years ago, as Project Jupiter - the first manned round 
trip to the greatest of the planets. The ship was nearly ready for the two-year 
voyage when, somewhat abruptly, the mission profile had been changed. 

Discovery would stili go to Jupiter; but she would not stop there. She 
would not even slacken speed as she raced through the far-ranging Jovian 
satellite system. On the contrary - she would use the gravitational field of the 
giant world us a sling to cast her even farther from the Sun. Like a comet, she 
would streak on across the outer reaches of the solar system to her ultimate goal, 
the ringed glory of Saturn. And she would never return. 

For Discovery, it would be a one-way trip - yet her crew had no intention 
of committing suicide. If all went well, they would be back on Earth within 
seven years - five of which would pass like a flash in the dreamless sleep of 
hibernation, while they awaited rescue by the stili unbuilt Discovery II. 

The word “rescue” was carefully avoided in all the Astronautics Agency's 



statements and documents; it implied some failure of planning, and the approved 
jargon was “re-acquisition.” If anything went really wrong, there would certainly 
be no hope of rescue, almost a billion miles from Earth. 

It was a calculated risk, like ali voyages into the unknown. But half a 
century of research had proved that artificially induced human hibernation was 
perfectly safe, and it had opened up new possibilities in space travel. Not until 
this mission, however, had they been exploited to the utmost. 

The three members of the survey team, who would not be needed until the 
ship entered her final orbit around Saturn, would sleep through the entire 
outward flight. Tons of food and other expendables would thus be saved; almost 
as important, the team would be fresh and alert, and not fatigued by the ten- 
month voyage, when they went into action. 

Discovery would enter a parking orbit around Saturn, becoming a new 
moon of the giant planet. She would swing back and forth along a two-million- 
mile ellipse that took her close to Saturn, and then across the orbits of all its 
major moons. They would have a hundred days in which to map and study a 
world with eighty times the area of Earth, and surrounded by a retinue of at least 
fifteen known satellites - one of them as large as the planet Mercury. 

There must be wonders enough here for centuries of study; the first 
expedition could only carry out a preliminary reconnaissance. All that it found 
would be radioed back to Earth; even if the explorers never returned, their 
discoveries would not be lost. 

At the end of the hundred days, Discovery would close down. All the crew 
would go into hibernation; only the essential systems would continue to operate, 
watched over by the ship's tireless electronic brain. She would continue to swing 
around Saturn, on an orbit now so well determined that men would know exactly 
where to look for her a thousand years hence. But in only five years, according 
to present pians, Discovery II would come. Even if six or seven or eight years 
elapsed, her sleeping passengers would never know the difference. For all of 
them, the clock would have stopped as it had stopped already for Whitehead, 
Kaminski, and Hunter. 

Sometimes Bowman, as First Captain of Discovery, envied his three 
unconscious colleagues in the frozen peace of the Hibernaculum. They were free 



from all boredom and all responsibility; until they reached Saturn, the external 
world did not exist. 

But that world was watching them, through their bio-sensor displays. 
Tucked inconspicuously away among the massed instrumentation of the Control 
Deck were five small panels marked Hunter, Whitehead, Kaminski, Poole, 
Bowman. The last two were blank and lifeless; their time would not come until a 
year from now. The others bore constellations of tiny green lights, announcing 
that everything was well; and on each was a small display screen across which 
sets of glowing lines traced the leisurely rhythms that indicated pulse, 
respiration, and brain activity. 

There were times when Bowman, well aware how unnecessary this was - 
for the alarm would sound instantly if anything was wrong - would switch over 
to audio output. He would listen, half hypnotized, to the infinitely slow 
heartbeats of his sleeping colleagues, keeping his eyes fixed on the sluggish 
waves that marched in synchronism across the screen. 

Most fascinating of all were the EEG displays - the electronic signatures 
of three personalities that had once existed, and would one day exist again. They 
were almost free from the spikes and valleys, the electrical explosions that 
marked the activity of the waking brain - or even of the brain in normal sleep. If 
there was any wisp of consciousness remaining, it was beyond the reach of 
Instruments, and of memory. 

This last fact Bowman knew from personal experience. Before he was 
chosen for this mission, his reactions to hibernation had been tested. He was not 
sure whether he had lost a week of his life - or whether he had postponed his 
eventual death by the same amount of time. 

When the electrodes had been attached to his forehead, and the sleep- 
generator had started to pulse, he had seen a brief display of kaleidoscopic 
patterns and drifting stars. Then they had faded, and darkness had engulfed him. 
He had never felt the injections, stili less the first touch of cold as his body 
temperature was reduced to only a few degrees above freezing. 


He awoke, and it seemed that he had scarcely closed his eyes. But he knew 



that was an illusion; somehow, he was convinced that years had really passed. 

Had the mission been completed? Had they already reached Saturn, 
carried out their survey, and gone into hibernation? Was Discovery II here, to 
take them back to Earth? 

He lay in a dreamlike haze, utterly unable to distinguish between real and 
false memories. He opened his eyes, but there was little to see except a blurred 
constellation of lights which puzzled him for some minutes. 

Then he realized that he was looking at the indicator lamps on a Ship 
Situation Board, but it was impossible to focus on them. He soon gave up the 
attempt. 

Warm air was blowing across him, removing the chill from his limbs. 
There was quiet, but stimulating, music welling from a speaker behind his head. 
It was slowly growing louder and louder. 

Then a relaxed, friendly - but he knew computer generated - voice spoke 
to him. 


“You are becoming operational, Dave. Do not get up or attempt any 
violent movements. Do not try to speak.” 

Do not get up! thought Bowman. That was funny. He doubted if he could 
wriggle a finger. Rather to his surprise, he found that he could. 

He felt quite contented, in a dazed, stupid kind of way. He knew dimly that 
the rescue ship must have come, that the automatic revival sequence had been 
triggered, and that soon he would be seeing other human beings. That was fine, 
but he did not get excited about it. 

Presently he felt hunger. The computer, of course, had anticipated this 

need. 


"There is a signal button by your right hand, Dave. 


If you are hungry, please press it." 



Bowman forced his fingers to hunt around, and presently discovered the 
pear-shaped bulb. He had forgotten all about it, though he must have known it 
was there. How much else had he forgotten: Did hibernation erase memory? 

He pressed the button, and waited. Several minutes later, a metal arm 
moved out from the bunk, and a plastic nipple descended toward his lips. He 
sucked on it eagerly, and a warm, sweet fluid coursed down his throat, brining 
renewed strength with every drop. 

Presently it went away, and he rested once more. He could move his arms 
and legs now; the thought of walking was no longer an impossible dream. 

Though he felt his strength swiftly returning, he would have been content 
to lie here forever, if there had been no further stimulus from outside. But 
presently another voice spoke to him - and this time it was wholly human, not a 
construet of electrical pulses assembled by a more-than-human memory. It was 
also a familiar voice, though it was some time before he could recognize it 

“Helio, Dave. You're coming round fine. You can talk now. Do you know 
where you are?” 

He worried about this for some time. If he was really orbiting Saturn, what 
had happened during all the months since he had left Earth? Again he began to 
wonder if he was suffering from amnesia, Paradoxically, that very thought 
reassured him, if he could remember the word “amnesia” his brain must be in 
fairly good shape. 

But he stili did not know where he was, and the speaker at the other end of 
the Circuit must have understood his situation completely. 

“Don't worry, Dave. This is Frank Poole. I'm watching your heart and 
respiration-everything is perfectly normal. Just relax - take it easy. We're going 
to open the door now and pull you out.” 

Soft light flooded into the chamber; he saw moving shapes silhouetted 
against the widening entrance. And in that moment, all his memories came back 
to him, and be knew exactly where he was. 


Though he had come back safely from the furthest borders of sleep, and 



the nearest borders of death, he had been gone only a week. When he left the 
Hibernaculum, he would not see the cold Saturnian sky; that was more than a 
year in the future and a billion miles away. 

He was stili in the trainer at the Houston Space Flight Center under the hot 
Texas sun. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

16 - Hal 


But now Texas was invisible, and even the United States was hard to see. 
Though the low-thrust plasma drive had long since been closed down, Discovery 
was stili coasting with her slender arrowlike body pointed away from Earth, and 
ali her high-powered optical gear was oriented toward the outer planets, where 
her destiny lay. 

There was one telescope, however, that was permanently aimed at Earth. It 
was mounted like a gunsight on the rim of the ship's long-range antenna, and 
checked that the great parabolic bowl was rigidly locked upon its distant target. 
While Earth remained centered in the crosswires, the vital communication link 
was intact, and messages could come and go along the invisible beam that 
lengthened more than two million miles with every day that passed. 

At least once in every watch period Bowman would lock homeward 
through the antenna-alignment telescope. As Earth was now far back toward the 
sun, its darkened hemisphere faced Discovery, and on the Central display screen 
the planet appeared as a dazzling silver crescent, like another Venus. 

It was rare that any geographical features could be identified in that ever- 
shrinking arc of light, for cloud and haze concealed them, but even the darkened 
portion of the disk was endlessly fascinating. It was sprinkled with shining 
cities; sometimes they burned with a steady light, sometimes they twinkled like 
fireflies as atmospheric tremors passed over them. 

There were also periods when, as the Moon swung back and forth in its 
orbit, it shone down like a great lamp upon the darkened seas and continents of 
Earth. 


Then, with a thrill of recognition, Bowman could often glimpse familiar 



coastlines, shining in that spectral lunar light. And sometimes, when the Pacific 
was calm, he could even see the moonglow shimmering across its face; and he 
would remember nights beneath the palm trees of tropical lagoons. 

Yet he had no regrets for these lost beauties. He had enjoyed them all, in 
his thirty-five years of life; and he was determined to enjoy them again, when he 
returned rich and famous. Meanwhile, distance made them all the more precious. 

The sixth member of the crew cared for none of these things, for it was not 
human. It was the highly advanced HAL 9000 computer, the brain and nervous 
system of the ship. 

Hal (for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer, no less) was a 
masterwork of the third computer breakthrough. These seemed to occur at 
intervals of twenty years, and the thought that another one was now imminent 
already worried a great many people. 

The first had been in the 1940s, when the long-obsolete vacuum tube had 
made possible such clumsy, high-speed morons as ENIAC and its successors. 
Then, in the 1960s, solid-state microelectronics had been perfected. With its 
advent, it was ciear that artificial intelligences at least as powerful as Man's need 
be no larger than office desks - if one only knew how to construet them. 

Probably no one would ever know this; it did not matter. In the 1980s, 
Minsky and Good had shown how neural networks could be generated 
automatically - self replicated - in accordance with any arbitrary learning 
program. Artificial brains could be grown by a process strikingly analogous to 
the development of a human brain. In any given case, the precise details would 
never be known, and even if they were, they would be millions of times too 
complex for human understanding. Whatever way it worked, the final resuit was 
a machine intelligence that could reproduce - some philosophers stili preferred to 
use the word “mimic” - most of the activities of the human brain - and with far 
greater speed and reliability. It was extremely expensive, and only a few units of 
the HAL9000 series had yet been built; but the old jest that it would always be 
easier to make organic brains by unskilled labor was beginning to sound a little 
hollow. 


Hal had been trained for this mission as thoroughly as his human 
colleagues - and at many times their rate of input, for in addition to his intrinsic 



speed, he never slept. His prime task was to monitor the life-support systems, 
continually checking oxygen pressure, temperature, hull leakage, radiation, and 
all the other interlocking factors upon which the lives of the fragile human cargo 
depended. He could carry out the intricate navigational corrections, and execute 
the necessary flight maneuvers when it was time to change course. And he could 
watch over the hibernators, making any necessary adjustments to their 
environment and doling out the minute quantities of intravenous fluids that kept 
them alive. 

The first generations of computers had received their inputs through 
glorified typewriter keyboards, and had replied through high-speed printers and 
visual displays. Hal could do this when necessary, but most of his 
communication with his shipmates was by means of the spoken word. Poole and 
Bowman could talk to Hal as if he were a human being and he would reply in the 
perfect idiomatic English he had learned during the fleeting weeks of his 
electronic childhood. 

Whether Hal could actually think was a question which had been settled 
by the British mathematician Alan Turing back in the 1940s. Turing had pointed 
out that, if one could carry out a prolonged conversation with a machine - 
whether by typewriter or microphone was immaterial - without being able to 
distinguish between its replies and those that a man might give, then the machine 
was thinking, by any sensible definition of the word. Hal could pass the Turing 
test with ease. 

The time might even come when Hal would take command of the ship. In 
an emergency, if no one answered his signals, he would attempt to wake the 
sleeping members of the crew, by electrical and Chemical stimulation. If they did 
not respond, he would radio Earth for further orders. 

And then, if there was no reply from Earth, he would take what measures 
he deemed necessary to safeguard the ship and to continue the mission - whose 
real purpose he alone knew, and which his human colleagues could never have 
guessed. 


Poole and Bowman had often humorously referred to themselves as 
caretakers or janitors aboard a ship that could really run itself. They would have 
been astonished, and more than a little indignant, to discover how much truth 
that jest contained. 




2001-A Space Odyssey 


17 - Cruise Mode 


The day-by-day running of the ship had been planned with great care, and 
- theoretically at least - Bowman and Poole knew what they would be doing at 
every moment of the twenty-four hours. They operated on a twelve-hours-on, 
twelve-hours-off basis, taking charge alternately, and never being both asleep at 
the same time. The officer on duty remained on the Control Deck, while his 
deputy saw to the general housekeeping, inspected the ship, coped with the odd 
jobs that constantly arose, or relaxed in his cubicle. 

Although Bowman was nominal Captain on this phase of the mission, no 
outside observer could have deduced the fact. He and Poole switched roles, rank, 
and responsibilities completely every twelve hours. This kept them both at peak 
training, minimized the chances of friction, and helped toward the goal of 100 
percent redundancy. 

Bowman's day began at 0600, ship's time - the Universal Ephemeris Time 
of the astronomers. If he was late, Hal had a variety of beeps and chimes to 
remind him of his duty, but they had never been used. As a test, Poole had once 
switched off the alarm; Bowman had stili risen automatically at the right time. 

His first official act of the day would be to advance the Master 
Hibernation Timer twelve hours. If this operation was missed twice in a row, Hal 
would assume that both he and Poole had been incapacitated, and would take the 
necessary emergency action. 

Bowman would attend to his toilet, and do his isometric exercises, before 
settling down to breakfast and the morning's radio-fax edition of the World 
Times. On Earth, he never read the paper as carefully as he did now; even the 
smallest items of society gossip, the most fleeting political rumors, seemed of 
absorbing interest as it flashed across the screen. 



At 0700 he would officially relieve Poole on the Control Deck, bringing 
him a squeeze-tube of coffee from the kitchen. If - as was usually the case - there 
was nothing to report and no action to be taken, he would settle down to check 
all the instrument readings, and would run through a series of tests designed to 
spot possible malfunctions. By 1000 this would be finished, and he would start 
on a study period. 

Bowman had been a student for more than half his life; he would continue 
to be one until he retired. Thanks to the twentieth-century revolution in training 
and information-handling techniques, he already possessed the equivalent of two 
or three college educations - and, what was more, he could remember 90 percent 
of what he had learned. 

Fifty years ago, he would have been considered a specialist in applied 
astronomy, cybernetics, and space propulsion systems - yet he was prone to 
deny, with genuine indignation, that he was a specialist at all. Bowman had 
never found it possible to focus his interest exclusively on any subject; despite 
the dark warnings of his instructors, he had insisted on taking his Master's degree 
in General Astronautics - a course with a vague and woolly syllabus, designed 
for those whose IQs were in the low 130s and who would never reach the top 
ranks of their profession. 

His decision had been right; that very refusal to specialize had made him 
uniquely qualified for his present task. In much the same way Frank Poole - who 
sometimes disparagingly called himself “General Practitioner in space biology” - 
had been an ideal choice as his deputy. The two of them, with, if necessary, help 
from Hal's vast Stores of information, could cope with any problems likely to 
arise during the voyage - as long as they kept their minds alert and receptive, and 
continually reengraved old patterns of memory. 

So for two hours, from 1000 to 1200, Bowman would engage in a 
dialogue with an electronic tutor, checking his general knowledge or absorbing 
material specific to this mission. He would prowl endlessly over ship's pians, 
Circuit diagrams, and voyage profiles, or would try to assimilate all that was 
known about Jupiter, Saturn, and their far-ranging families of moons. 

At midday, he would retire to the galley and leave the ship to Hal while he 
prepared his lunch. Even here, he was stili fully in touch with events, for the tiny 



lounge-cum-dining room contained a duplicate of the Situation Display Panel, 
and Hal could call him at a momenfs notice. Poole would join him for this meal, 
before retiring for his six-hour sleep period, and usually they would watch one of 
the regular TV programs beamed to them from Earth. 

Their menus had been planned with as much care as any part of the 
mission, The food, most of it freeze-dried, was uniformly excellent, and had 
been chosen for the minimum of trouble; Packets had merely to be opened and 
popped into the tiny auto-galley, which beeped for attention when the job was 
done. They could enjoy what tasted like - and, equally important, looked like - 
orange juice, eggs (any style), steaks, chops, roasts, fresh vegetables, assorted 
fruits, ice cream, and even freshly baked bread. 

After lunch, from 1300 to 1600 Bowman would make a slow and careful 
tour of the ship - or such part of it as was accessible. Discovery measured almost 
four hundred feet from end to end, but the little universe occupied by her crew 
lay entirely inside the forty-foot sphere of the pressure hull. 

Here were all the life-support systems, and the Control Deck which was 
the operational heart of the ship. Below this was a small “space-garage” fitted 
with three airlocks, through which powered capsules, just large enough to hold a 
man, could sail out into the void if the need arose for extravehicular activity. 

The equatorial region of the pressure sphere - the slice, as it were, from 
Capricorn to Cancer - enclosed a slowly rotating drum, thirty-five feet in 
diameter. As it made one revolution every ten seconds, this carrousel or 
centrifuge produced an artificial gravity equal to that of the Moon. This was 
enough to prevent the physical atrophy which would resuit from the complete 
absence of weight, and it also allowed the routine functions of living to be 
carried out under normal - or nearly normal - conditions. 

The carrousel therefore contained the kitchen, dining, washing, and toilet 
facilities. Only here was it safe to prepare and handle hot drinks - quite 
dangerous in weightless conditions, where one can be badly scalded by floating 
globules of boiling water. The problem of shaving was also solved; there would 
be no weightless bristles drifting around to endanger electrical equipment and 
produce a health hazard. 


Around the rim of the carrousel were five tiny cubicles, fitted out by each 



astronaut according to taste and containing his personal belongings. Only 
Bowman's and Poole's were now in use, while the future occupants of the other 
three cabins reposed in their electronic sarcophagi next door. 

The spin of the carrousel could be stopped if necessary; when this 
happened, its angular momentum had to be stored in a flywheel, and switched 
back again when rotation was restarted. But normally it was left running at 
constant speed, for it was easy enough to enter the big, slowly turning drum by 
going hand-over-hand along a pole through the zero-gee region at its center. 
Transferring to the moving section was as easy and automatic, after a little 
experience, as stepping onto a moving escalator. 

The spherical pressure hull formed the head of a flimsy, arrow-shaped 
structure more than a hundred yards long. Discovery, like all vehicles intended 
for deep space penetration, was too fragile and unstreamlined ever to enter an 
atmosphere, or to defy the full gravitational field of any planet. She had been 
assembled in orbit around the Earth, tested on a translunar maiden flight, and 
finally checked out in orbit above the Moon. 

She was a creature of pure space - and she looked it. Immediately behind 
the pressure hull was grouped a cluster of four large liquid hydrogen tanks - and 
beyond them, forming a long, slender V, were the radiating fins that dissipated 
the waste heat of the nuclear reactor. Veined with a delicate tracery of pipes for 
the cooling fluid, they looked like the wings of some vast dragonfly, and from 
certain angles gave Discovery a fleeting resemblance to an old-time sailing ship, 

At the very end of the V, three hundred feet from the crew-compartment, 
was the shielded inferno of the reactor, and the complex of focusing electrodes 
through which emerged the incandescent star-stuff of the plasma drive. This had 
done its work weeks ago, forcing Discovery out of her parking orbit round the 
Moon. Now the reactor was merely ticking over as it generated electrical power 
for the ship's Services, and the great radiating fins, that would glow cherry red 
when Discovery was accelerating under maximum thrust, were dark and cool. 

Although it would require an excursion out into space to examine this 
region of the ship, there were instruments and remote TV cameras which gave a 
full report on conditions here. Bowman now felt that he knew intimately every 
square foot of radiator, panels, and every piece of plumbing associated with 
them. 



By 1600, he would have finished his inspection, and would make a 
detailed verbal report to Mission Control, talking until the acknowledgment 
started to come in. Then he would switch off his own transmitter, listen to what 
Earth had to say, and send back his reply to any queries. At 1800 hours, Poole 
would awaken, and he would hand over command. 

He would then have six off-duty hours, to use as he pleased. Sometimes he 
would continue his studies, or listen to music, or look at movies. Much of the 
time he would wander at will through the ship's inexhaustible electronic library. 
He had become fascinated by the great explorations of the past - understandably 
enough, in the circumstances. Sometimes he would cruise with Pytheas out 
through the Pillars of Hercules, along the coast of a Europe barely emerging 
from the Stone Age, and venture almost to the chill mists of the Arctic. Or, two 
thousand years later, he would pursue the Manila galleons with Anson, sail with 
Cook along the unknown hazards of the Great Barrier Reef, achieve with 
Magellan the first circumnavigation of the world. And he began to read the 
Odyssey, which of all books spoke to him most vividly across the gulfs of time. 

For relaxation he could always engage Hal in a large number of semi- 
mathematical games, including checkers, chess, and polyominoes. If Hal went 
all out, he could win anyone of them; but that would be bad for morale. So he 
had been programmed to win only fifty percent of the time, and his human 
partners pretended not to know this. 

The last hours of Bowman's day were devoted to general cleaning up and 
odd jobs, followed by dinner at 2000 - again with Poole. Then there would be an 
hour during which he would make or receive any personal call from Earth. 

Like all his colleagues, Bowman was unmarried; it was not fair to send 
family men on a mission of such duration, though numerous ladies had promised 
to wait until the expedition returned, no one had really believed this. At first, 
both Poole and Bowman had been making rather intimate personal calls once a 
week, though the knowledge that many ears must be listening at the Earth end of 
the Circuit tended to inhibit them. Yet already, though the voyage was scarcely 
started, the warmth and frequency of the conversations with their girls on Earth 
had begun to diminish. They had expected this; it was one of the penalties of an 
astronaufs way of life, as it had once been of a mariner's. 



It was true - indeed, notorious - that seamen had compensations at other 
ports; unfortunately there were no tropical islands full of dusky maids beyond 
the orbit of Earth. The space medies, of course, had tackled this problem with 
their usual enthusiasm; the ship's pharmacopoeia provided adequate, though 
hardly glamorous, substitutes. 

Just before he signed off Bowman would make his final report, and check 
that Hal had transmitted all the instrumentation tapes for the day's run. Then, if 
he felt like it, he would spend a couple of hours either reading or looking at a 
movie; and at midnight he would go to sleep - usually without any help from 
electronarcosis. Poole's program was a mirror image of his own, and the two 
schedules dovetailed together without friction. 

Both men were fully occupied, they were too intelligent and well-adjusted 
to quarrel, and the voyage had settled down to a comfortable, utterly uneventful 
routine, the passage of time marked only by the changing numbers on the digital 
clocks. 


The greatest hope of Discovery's little crew was that nothing would mar 
this peaceful monotony in the weeks and months that lay ahead. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

18 - Through the Asteroids 


Week after week, running like a streetcar along the tracks of her utterly 
predetermined orbit, Discovery swept past the orbit of Mars and on toward 
Jupiter. Unlike all the vessels traversing the skies or seas of Earth, she required 
not even the most minute touch on the Controls. Her course was fixed by the 
laws of gravitation; there were no uncharted shoals, no dangerous reefs on which 
she would run aground. Nor was there the slightest danger of collision with 
another ship; for there was no vessel - at least of Man's making - anywhere 
between her and the infinitely distant stars. 

Yet the space which she was now entering was far from empty. Ahead lay 
a no-man's land threaded by the paths of more than a million asteroids - less than 
ten thousand of which had ever had their orbits precisely determined by 
astronomers. Only four were over a hundred miles in diameter; the vast majority 
were merely giant boulders, trundling aimlessly through space. 

There was nothing that could be done about them; though even the 
smallest could completely destroy the ship if it slammed into it at tens of 
thousands of miles an hour, the chance of this happening was negligible. 

On the average, there was only one asteroid in a volume a million miles on 
a side; that Discovery should also happen to occupy this same point, and at the 
same time, was the very least of her crew's worries. 

On Day 86 they were due to make their closest approach to any known 
asteroid, It had no name - merely the number 7794 - and was a fifty-yard- 
diameter rock that had been detected by the Lunar Observatory in 1997 and 
immediately forgotten except by the patient computers of the Minor Planet 
Bureau. 



When Bowman came on duty, Hal promptly reminded hint of the 
forthcoming encounter - not that he was likely to have forgotten the only 
scheduled in-flight event of the entire voyage, The track of the asteroid against 
the stars, and its coordinates at the moment of closest approach, had already 
been printed out on the display screens. Listed also were the observations to be 
made or attempted; they were going to be very busy when 7794 flashed past 
them only nine hundred miles away, at a relative speed of eighty thousand miles 
an hour. 

When Bowman asked Hal for the telescopic display, a sparsely sprinkled 
star field flashed onto the screen. There was nothing that looked like an asteroid; 
all the images, even under the highest magnification, were dimensionless points 
of light. 


“Give me the target reticule,” asked Bowman. Immediately four faint, 
narrow lines appeared, bracketing a tiny and undistinguished star. He stared at it 
for many minutes, wondering if Hal could possibly be mistaken; then he saw that 
the pinpoint of light was moving, with barely perceptible slowness, against the 
background of the stars. It might stili be half a million miles away - but its 
movement proved that, as cosmic distances went, it was almost near enough to 
touch. 


When Poole joined him on the control deck six hours later, 7794 was 
hundreds of times more brilliant, and was moving so swiftly against its 
background that there was no question of its identity. And it was no longer a 
point of light; it had begun to show a clearly visible disk. 

They stared at that passing pebble in the sky with the emotions of sailors 
on a long sea voyage, skirting a coast on which they cannot land. Though they 
were perfectly well aware that 7794 was only a lifeless, airless chunk of rock, 
this knowledge scarcely affected their feelings. It was the only solid matter they 
would meet this side of Jupiter - stili two hundred million miles away. 

Through the high-powered telescope, they could see that the asteroid was 
very irregular, and turning slowly end over end. Sometimes it looked like a 
flattened sphere, sometimes it resembled a roughly shaped block; its rotation 
period was just over two minutes. There were mottled patches of light and shade 
distributed apparently at random over its surface, and often it sparkled like a 
distant window as planes or outcroppings of crystalline material flashed in the 



sun. 


It was racing past them at almost thirty miles a second; they had only a 
few frantic minutes in which to observe it closely. The automatic cameras took 
dozens of photographs, the navigation radar's returning echoes were carefully 
recorded for future analysis - and there was just time for a single impact probe. 

The probe carried no instruments; none could survive a collision at such 
cosmic speeds. It was merely a small slug of metal, shot out from Discovery on a 
course which should intersect that of the asteroid. 

As the seconds before impact ticked away, Poole and Bowman waited 
with mounting tension. The experiment, simple though it was in principle, taxed 
the accuracy of their equipment to the limits. They were aiming at a hundred- 
foot-diameter target, from a distance of thousands of miles. 

Against the darkened portion of the asteroid there was a sudden, dazzling 
explosion of light. The tiny slug had impacted at meteoric speed; in a fraction of 
a second all its energy had been transformed into heat. A puff of incandescent 
gas had erupted briefly into space; aboard Discovery, the cameras were 
recording the rapidly fading spectral lines. Back on Earth, experts would analyze 
them, looking for the telltale signatures of glowing atoms. And so, for the first 
time, the composition of an asteroid's crust would be determined. 

Within an hour, 7794 was a dwindling star, showing no trace of a disk. 
When Bowman next came on watch it had vanished completely. 

They were alone again; they would remain alone, until the outermost of 
Jupiter's moons came swimming up toward them, three months from now. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

19 - Transit of Jupiter 


Even front twenty million miles away, Jupiter was already the most 
conspicuous object in the sky ahead. The planet was now a pale, salmon-hued 
disk, about half the size of the Moon as seen from Earth, with the dark, parallel 
bands of its cloud belts clearly visible. 

Shuttling back and forth in the equatorial plane were the brilliant stars of 
Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto - worlds that elsewhere would have counted 
as planets in their own right, but which here were merely satellites of a giant 
master. 


Through the telescope, Jupiter was a glorious sight - a mottled, 
multicolored globe that seemed to fili the sky. It was impossible to grasp its real 
size; Bowman kept reminding himself that it was eleven times the diameter of 
Earth, but for a long time this was a statistic with no real meaning. 

Then, while he was briefing himself from the tapes in Hal's memory units, 
he found something that suddenly brought the appalling scale of the planet into 
focus. It was an illustration that showed the Earth's entire surface peeled off and 
then pegged, like the skin of an animal, on the disk of Jupiter. Against this 
background, all the continents and oceans of Earth appeared no larger than India 
on the terrestrial globe. 

When Bowman used the highest magnification of Discovery's telescopes, 
he appeared to be hanging above a slightly flattened globe, looking down upon a 
vista of racing clouds that had been smeared into bands by the giant world's swift 
rotation. Sometimes those bands congealed into wisps and knots and continent- 
sized masses of colored vapor; sometimes they were linked by transient bridges 
thousands of miles in length. Hidden beneath those clouds was enough material 
to outweigh all the other planets in the Solar System. And what else, Bowman 



wondered, was also hidden there? 


Over this shifting, turbulent roof of clouds, forever hiding the real surface 
of the planet, circular patterns of darkness sometimes glided. One of the inner 
moons was transiting the distant sun, its shadow marching beneath it over the 
restless Jovian cloudscape. 

There were other, and far smaller, moons even out here - twenty million 
miles from Jupiter. But they were only flying mountains, a few dozen miles in 
diameter, and the ship would pass nowhere near any of them. Every few minutes 
the radar transmitter would gather its strength and send out a silent thunderclap 
of power; no echoes of new satellites came pulsing back from the emptiness. 

What did come, with ever growing intensity, was the roar of Jupiter's own 
radio voice. In 1955, just before the dawn of the space age, astronomers had 
been astonished to find that Jupiter was blasting out millions of horsepower on 
the ten-meter band. It was merely raw noise, associated with haloes of charged 
particles circling the planet like the Van Allen belts of Earth, but on a far greater 
scale. 


Sometimes, during lonely hours on the control deck, Bowman would listen 
to this radiation. He would turn up the gain until the room filled with a crackling, 
hissing roar; out of this background, at irregular intervals, emerged brief whistles 
and peeps like the cries of demented birds. It was an eerie sound, for it had 
nothing to do with Man; it was as lonely and as meaningless as the murmur of 
waves on a beach, or the distant crash of thunder beyond the horizon. 

Even at her present speed of over a hundred thousand miles an hour, it 
would take Discovery almost two weeks to cross the orbits of all the Jovian 
satellites. More moons circled Jupiter than planets orbited the Sun; the Lunar 
Observatory was discovering new ones every year, and the tally had now 
reached thirty-six. The outermost - Jupiter XXVII - moved backwards in an 
unstable path nineteen million miles from its temporary master. It was the prize 
in a perpetual tug-of-war between Jupiter and the Sun, for the planet was 
constantly capturing short-lived moons from the asteroid belt, and losing them 
again after a few million years. Only the inner satellites were its permanent 
property; the Sun could never wrest them from its grasp. 


Now there was new prey for the clashing gravitation at fields, Discovery 



was accelerating toward Jupiter along a complex orbit computed months ago by 
the astronomers on Earth, and constantly checked by Hal. From time to time 
there would be minute, automatic nudges from the control jets, scarcely 
perceptible aboard the ship, as they made fine adjustments to the trajectory. 

Over the radio link with Earth, Information was flowing back in a constant 
stream. They were now so far from horne that, even traveling at the speed of 
light, their signals were taking fifty minutes for the journey. Though the whole 
world was looking over their shoulder, watching through their eyes and their 
Instruments as Jupiter approached, it would be almost an hour before the news of 
their discoveries reached horne. 

The telescopic cameras were operating constantly as the ship cut across 
the orbit of the giant inner satellites - every one of them larger than the Moon, 
every one of them unknown territory. Three hours before transit, Discovery 
passed only twenty thousand miles from Europa, and ali instruments were aimed 
at the approaching world, as it grew steadily in size, changed from globe to 
crescent, and swept swiftly sunward. 

Here were fourteen million square miles of land which, until this moment, 
had never been more than a pinhead in the mightiest telescope. They would race 
past it in minutes, and must make the most of the encounter, recording all the 
information they could. There would be months in which they could play it back 
at leisure. 

From a distance, Europa had seemed like a giant snowball, reflecting the 
light of the far-off sun with remarkable efficiency. Closer observations 
confirmed this; unlike the dusty Moon, Europa was a brilliant white, and much 
of its surface was covered with glittering hunks that looked like stranded 
icebergs. Almost certainly, these were formed from ammonia and water that 
Jupiter's gravitational field had somehow failed to capture. 

Only along the equator was bare rock visible; here was an incredibly 
jagged no-man's-land of canyons and jumbled boulders, forming a darker band 
that completely surrounded the little world. There were a few impact craters, but 
no sign of vulcanism; Europa had obviously never possessed any internal 
sources of heat. There was, as had long been known, a trace of atmosphere. 
When the dark edge of the satellite passed across a star, it dimmed briefly before 
the moment of eclipse. And in somr areas there was a hint of cloud - perhaps a 



mist of ammonia droplets, borne on tenuous methane winds. 

As swifdy as it had rushed out of the sky ahead, Europa dropped astem; 
and now Jupiter itself was only two hours away. Hal had checked and rechecked 
the ship's orbit with infinite care, and there was no need for further speed 
corrections until the moment of closest approach. Yet, even knowing this, it was 
a strain on the nerves to watch that giant globe ballooning minute by minute. It 
was difficult to believe that Discovery was not plunging directly into it, and that 
the planefs immense gravitational field was not dragging them down to 
destruction. Now was the time to drop the atmospheric probes - which, it was 
hoped, would survive long enough to send back some information from below 
the Jovian cloud deck. Two stubby, bomb-shaped capsules, enclosed in ablative 
heat-shields, were gently nudged into orbits which for the first few thousand 
miles deviated scarcely at all from that of Discovery. 

But they slowly drifted away; and now, at last, even the unaided eye could 
see what Hal had been asserting. The ship was in a near-grazing orbit, not a 
collision one; she would miss the atmosphere. True, the difference was only a 
few hundred miles - a mere nothing when one was dealing with a planet ninety 
thousand miles in diameter - but that was enough. 

Jupiter now filled the entire sky; it was so huge that neither mind nor eye 
could grasp it any longer, and both had abandoned the attempt. If it had not been 
for the extraordinary variety of color - the reds and pinks and yellows and 
salmons and even scarlets - of the atmosphere beneath them, Bowman could 
have believed that he was flying low over a cloudscape on Earth. 

And now, for the first time in all their journeying, they were about to lose 
the Sun. Pale and shrunken though it was, it had been Discovery's constant 
companion since her departure from Earth, five months ago. But now her orbit 
was diving into the shadow of Jupiter; she would soon pass over the night side of 
the planet. 

A thousand miles ahead, the band of twilight was hurtling toward them; 
behind, the Sun was sinking swiftly into the Jovian clouds, its rays spread out 
along the horizon like two flaming, down-turned horns, then contracted and died 
in a brief blaze of chromatic glory. The night had come. 


And yet - the great world below was not wholly dark. It was awash with 



phosphorescence, which grew brighter minute by minute as their eyes grew 
accustomed to the scene. Dim rivers of light were flowing from horizon to 
horizon, like the luminous wakes of ships on some tropical sea. Here and there 
they gathered into pools of liquid fire, trembling with vast, submarine 
disturbances welling up from the hidden heart of Jupiter. It was a sight so awe- 
inspiring that Poole and Bowman could have stared for hours; was this, they 
wondered, merely the resuit of Chemical and electrical forces down there in that 
seething caldron - or was it the by-product of some fantastic form of life? These 
were questions which scientists might stili be debating when the newborn 
century drew to its close. 

As they drove deeper and deeper into the Jovian night, the glow beneath 
them grew steadily brighter. 

Once Bowman had flown over northern Canada during the height of an 
auroral display; the snow-covered landscape had been as bleak and brilliant as 
this. And that arctic wilderness, he reminded himself, was more than a hundred 
degrees warmer than the regions over which they were hurtling now. 

“Earth signal is fading rapidly,” announced Hal. “We are entering the first 
diffraction zone.” 

They had expected this - indeed, it was one of the mission's objectives, as 
the absorption of radio waves would give valuable information about the Jovian 
atmosphere. But now that they had actually passed behind the planet, and it was 
cutting off communication with Earth, they felt a sudden overwhelming 
loneliness. The radio blackout would last only an hour; then they would emerge 
from Jupiter's eclipsing screen, and could resume contact with the human race. 
That hour, however, would be one of the longest of their lives. 

Despite their relative youth, Poole and Bowman were veterans of a dozen 
space voyages, but now they felt like novices. They were attempting something 
for the first lime; never before had any ship traveled at such speeds, or braved so 
intense a gravitational field. The slightest error in navigation at this critical point 
and Discovery would go speeding on toward the far limits of the Solar System, 
beyond any hope of rescue. 

The slow minutes dragged by. Jupiter was now a vertical wall of 
phosphorescence stretching to infinity above them - and the ship was climbing 



straight up its glowing face. Though they knew that they were moving far too 
swiftly for even Jupiter's gravity to capture them, it was hard to believe that 
Discovery had not become a satellite of this monstrous world. 

At last, far ahead, there was a blaze of light along the horizon. They were 
emerging from shadow, heading out into the Sun. And at almost the same 
moment Hal announced: “I am in radio contact with Earth. I am also happy to 
say that the perturbation maneuver has been successfully completed. Our time to 
Saturn is one hundred and sixty-seven days, five hours, eleven minutes.” 

That was within a minute of the estimate; the fly-by had been carried out 
with impeccable precision. Like a ball on a cosmic pool table, Discovery had 
bounced off the moving gravitational field of Jupiter, and had gained momentum 
from the impact. Without using any fuel, she had increased her speed by several 
thousand miles an hour. 

Yet there was no violation of the laws of mechanics; Nature always 
balances her books, and Jupiter had lost exactly as much momentum as 
Discovery had gained. The planet had been slowed down - but as its mass was a 
sextillion times greater than the ship's, the change in its orbit was far too small to 
be detectable. The time had not yet come when Man could leave his mark upon 
the Solar System. 

As the light grew swiftly around them, and the shrunken Sun lifted once 
more into the Jovian sky, Poole and Bowman reached out silently and shook 
each other's hands. 

Though they could hardly believe it, the first part of the mission was 
safely over. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

20 - The World of the Gods 


But they had not yet finished with Jupiter. Far behind, the two probes that 
Discovery had launched were making contact with the atmosphere. 

One was never heard from again; presumably it made too steep an entry, 
and burned up before it could send any information. The second was more 
successful; it sliced though the upper layers of the Jovian atmosphere, then 
skimmed out once more into space. As had been planned, it had lost so much 
speed by the encounter that it feli back again along a great ellipse. Two hours 
later, it reentered atmosphere on the daylight side of the planet - moving at 
seventy thousand miles an hour. 

Immediately, it was wrapped in an envelope of incandescent gas, and radio 
contact was lost. There were anxious minutes of waiting, then, for the two 
watchers on the control deck. They could not be certain that the probe would 
survive, and that the protective ceramic shield would not burn completely away 
before braking had finished. If that happened, the instruments would be 
vaporized in a fraction of a second. 

But the shield held long enough for the glowing meteor to come to rest. 
The charred fragments were jettisoned, the robot thrust out its antennas and 
began to peer around with its electronic senses. Aboard Discovery, now almost a 
quarter of a million miles away, the radio started to bring in the first authentic 
news from Jupiter. 

The thousands of pulses pouring in every second were reporting 
atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature, magnetic fields, radioactivity, 
and dozens of other factors which only the experts on Earth could unravel. 
However, there was one message that could be understood instantly; it was the 
TV picture, in full color, sent back by the falling probe. 



The first views came when the robot had already entered the atmosphere, 
and had discarded its protective shell. All that was visible was a yellow mist, 
flecked with patches of scarlet which moved past the camera at a dizzying rate - 
streaming upwards as the probe feli at several hundred miles an hour. 

The mist grew thicker; it was impossible to guess whether the camera was 
seeing for ten inches or ten miles, because there were no details on which the eye 
could focus. It seemed that, as far as the TV system was concerned, the mission 
was a failure. The equipment had worked, but there was nothing to see in this 
foggy, turbulent atmosphere. 

And then, quite abruptly, the mist vanished. The probe must have fallen 
through the base of a high layer of cloud, and come out into a ciear zone - 
perhaps a region of almost pure hydrogen with only a sparse scattering of 
ammonia crystals. Though it was stili quite impossible to judge the scale of the 
picture, the camera was obviously seeing for miles. 

The scene was so alien that for a moment it was almost meaningless to 
eyes accustomed to the colors and shapes of Earth. Far, far below lay an endless 
sea of mottled gold, scarred with parallel ridges that might have been the crests 
of gigantic waves. But there was no movement; the scale of the scene was too 
immense to show it. And that golden vista could not possibly have been an 
ocean, for it was stili high in the Jovian atmosphere. It could only have been 
another layer of cloud. 

Then the camera caught, tantalizingly blurred by distance, a glimpse of 
something very strange. Many miles away, the golden landscape reared itself 
into a curiously symmetrical cone, like a volcanic mountain. Around the summit 
of that cone was a halo of small, puffy clouds - all about the same size, all quite 
distinet and isolated. There was something disturbing and unnatural about them - 
if, indeed, the word “natural” could ever be applied to this awesome panorama. 

Then, caught by some turbulence in the rapidly thickening atmosphere, the 
probe twisted around to another quarter of the horizon, and for a few seconds the 
screen showed nothing but a golden blur. Presently it stabilized; the “sea” was 
much closer, but as enigmatic as ever. One could now observe that it was 
interrupted here and there with patches of darkness, which might have been 
holes or gaps leading to stili deeper layers of the atmosphere. 



The probe was destined never to reach them. Every mile, the density of the 
gas around it had been doubling, the pressure mounting as it sank deeper and 
deeper toward the hidden surface of the planet. It was stili high above that 
mysterious sea when the picture gave one premonitory flicker, then vanished, as 
the first explorer from Earth crumpled beneath the weight of the miles of 
atmosphere above it. 

It had given, in its brief life, a glimpse of perhaps one millionth of Jupiter, 
and had barely approached the planefs surface, hundreds of miles down in the 
deepening mists. When the picture faded from the screen, Bowman and Poole 
could only sit in silence, turning the same thought over in their minds. 

The ancients had, indeed, done better than they knew when they named 
this world after the lord of all the gods. If there was life down there, how long 
would it take even to locate it? And after that, how many centuries before men 
could follow this first pioneer - in what kind of ship? 

But these matters were now no concern of Discovery and her crew. Their 
goal was a stili stranger world, almost twice as far from the Sun - across another 
half billion miles of comet-haunted emptiness. 


IV - ABYSS 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

21 - Birthday Party 


The familiar strains of “Happy Birthday,” hurled across seven hundred 
million miles of space at the velocity of light, died away among the vision 
screens and instrumentation of the control deck. The Poole family, grouped 
rather self-consciously round the birthday cake on Earth, lapsed into a sudden 
silence. 

Then Mr. Poole, Senior, said gruffly: “Well, Frank, can't think of anything 
else to say at the moment, except that our thoughts are with you, and we're 
wishing you the happiest of birthdays.” 

“Take care, darling,” Mrs. Poole interjected tearfully. “God bless you.” 

There was a chorus of “good-byes,” and the vision screen went blank. 
How strange to think, Poole told himself, that all this had happened more than an 
hour ago; by now his family would have dispersed again and its members would 
be miles from horne. But in a way that time lag, though it could be frustrating, 
was also a blessing in disguise. Like every man of his age, Poole took it for 
granted that he could talk instantly, to anyone on Earth, whenever he pleased. 
Now that this was no longer true, the psychological impact was profound. He 
had moved into a new dimension of remoteness, and almost all emotional links 
had been stretched beyond the yield point. 

“Sony to interrupt the festivities,” said Hal, “but we have a problem.” 

“What is it?” Bowman and Poole asked simultaneously. 

“I am having difficulty in maintaining contact with Earth. The trouble is in 
the AE-35 unit. My Fault Prediction Center reports that it may fail within 
seventy-two hours.” 



“We'll take care of it,” Bowman replied. “Let's see the optical alignment.” 


“Here it is, Dave. It's stili O.K. at the moment.” 

On the display screen appeared a perfect half-moon, very brilliant against 
a background almost free of stars. It was covered with clouds, and showed not 
one geographical feature that could be recognized. Indeed, at first glance it could 
be easily mistaken for Venus. 

But not at a second one, for there beside it was the real Moon which Venus 
did not possess - a quarter the size of Earth, and in exactly the same phase. It 
was easy to imagine that the two bodies were mother and child, as many 
astronomers had believed, before the evidence of the lunar rocks had proved 
beyond doubt that the Moon had never been part of Earth. 

Poole and Bowman studied the screen in silence for half a minute. This 
image was coming to them from the long-focus TV camera mounted on the rim 
of the big radio dish; the cross-wires at its center showed the exact orientation of 
the antenna. Unless the narrow pencil beam was pointed precisely at Earth, they 
could neither receive nor transmit. Messages in both directions would miss their 
target and would shoot, unheard and unseen, out through the Solar System and 
into the emptiness beyond. If they were ever received, it would not be for 
centuries - and not by men. 

“Do you know where the trouble is?” asked Bowman. 

“It's intermittent and I can't localize it. But it appears to be in the AE-35 

unit.” 


“What procedure do you suggest?” 

“The best thing would be to replace the unit with a spare, so that we can 
check it over.” 

“O.K. - let us have the hard copy.” 

The information flashed on the display screen; simultaneously, a sheet of 
paper slid out of the slot immediately beneath it. Despite all the electronic read- 



outs, there were times when good old-fashioned printed material was the most 
convenient form of record. 

Bowman studied the diagrams for a moment, then whistled. 

“You might have told us,” he said. “This means going outside the ship.” 

‘Tm sorry,” Hal replied. “I assumed you knew that the AE-35 unit was on 
the antenna mounting.” 

“I probably did, a year ago. But there are eight thousand subsystems 
aboard. Anyway, it looks a straightforward job. We only have to unlock a panel 
and put in a new unit.” 

“That suits me fine,” said Poole, who was the crew member designated for 
routine extravehicular activity. “I could do with a change of scenery. Nothing 
personal, of course.” 

“Let's see if Mission Control agrees,” said Bowman. He sat stili for a few 
seconds, marshaling his thoughts, then started to dictate a message. 

“Mission Control, this is X-ray-Delta-One. At two-zero-four-five, on- 
board fault prediction center in our niner-triple-zero computer showed Alpha 
Echo three five unit as probable failure within seventy-two hours. Request check 
your telemetry monitoring and suggest you review unit in your ship systems 
simulator. Also, confirm your approval our plan to go EVA and replace Alpha 
Echo three five unit prior to failure. Mission Control, this is X-ray-Delta-One, 
two-one-zero-three transmission concluded.” 

Through years of practice, Bowman could switch at a momenfs notice to 
this jargon - which someone had once christened “Technish” - and back again to 
normal speech, without clashing his mental gears. Now there was nothing to do 
but to wait for the confirmation, which would take at least two hours as the 
signals made the round trip past the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. 

It came while Bowman was trying, without much success, to beat Hal at 
one of the geometrical pattern games stored in his memory. 


"X-ray-Delta-One, this is Mission Control, acknowledging your two-one- 



zero-three. We are reviewing telemetric Information on our mission simulator 
and will advise. 


“Roger your plan to go EVA and replace Alpha-Echo three-five unit prior 
to possible failure. We are working on test procedures for you to apply to faulty 
unit.” 


The serious business having been completed, the Mission Controller 
reverted to normal English. 

“Sony you fellows are having a bit of trouble, and we don't want to add to 
your woes. But if it's convenient to you prior to EVA, we have a request from 
Public Information. Could you do a brief recording for general release, outlining 
the situation and explaining just what the AE-35 does. Make it as reassuring as 
you can. We could do it, of course - but it will be much more convincing in your 
words. Hope this won't interfere too badly with your social life. X-ray-Delta- 
One, this is Mission Control, two-one-five-five, transmission concluded.” 

Bowman could not help smiling at the request. There were times when 
Earth showed a curious insensitivity and lack of tact. “Make it reassuring,” 
indeed! 


When Poole joined him at the end of his sleep period, they spent ten 
minutes composing and polishing the reply. In the early stages of the mission, 
there had been countless requests from ali the news media for interviews, 
discussions - almost anything that they cared to say. But as the weeks drifted 
uneventfully past, and the time lag increased from a few minutes to over an hour, 
interest had gradually slackened. Since the excitement of the Jupiter fly-by, over 
a month ago, they had made only three or four tapes for general release. 

"Mission Control, this is X-ray-Delta-One. Here is your press statement. 

"Earlier today, a minor technical problem occurred. Our HAL-9001 
computer predicted the failure of the AE-35 unit. 

"This is a small but vital component of the communication system. It 
keeps our main antenna aimed at Earth to within a few thousandths of a degree. 
This accuracy is required, since at our present distance of more than seven 
hundred million miles, Earth is only a rather faint star, and our very narrow radio 



beam could easily miss it. 


"The antenna is kept constantly tracking Earth by motors controlled from 
the Central computer. But those motors get their instructions via the AE-35 unit. 
You might compare it to a nerve center in the body, which translates the brain's 
instructions to the muscles of a limb. If the nerve fails to pass on the correct 
signals, the limb becomes useless. In our case, a breakdown of the AE-35 unit 
could mean that the antenna will start pointing at random. This was a common 
trouble with the deep-space probes of the last century. They often reached other 
planets, then failed to send back any information because their antenna couldn't 
locate Earth. 

"We don't know the nature of the fault yet, but the situation is not at all 
serious, and there is no need for alarm. We have two back-up AE-35s, each of 
which has an operational life expectancy of twenty years, so the chance that a 
second will fail during the course of this mission is' negligible. Also, if we can 
diagnose the present trouble, we may be able to repair the number one unit. 

"Frank Poole, who is specially qualified for this type of work, will go 
outside the ship and replace the faulty unit with the back-up. At the same time, 
he'll take the opportunity of checking the hull and repairing some 
micropunctures that have been too small to merit a special EVA. 

"Apart from this minor problem, the mission is stili going uneventfully 
and should continue in the same manner. 

“Mission Control, this is X-ray-Delta-One, two-one-zero-four, 
transmission concluded.” 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

22 - Excursion 


Discovery's extravehicular capsules or “space pods” were spheres about 
nine feet in diameter, and the operator sat behind a bay window which gave him 
a splendid view. The main rocket drive produced an acceleration of one-fifth of a 
gravity - just sufficient to hover on the Moon - while small attitude-control 
nozzles allowed for steering. From an area immediately beneath the bay window 
sprouted two sets of articulated metal arms or “waldoes,” one for heavy duty, the 
other for delicate manipulation. There was also an extensible turret carrying a 
variety of power tools, such as screwdrivers, jack-hammers, saws, and drills. 

Space pods were not the most elegant means of transport devised by man, 
but they were absolutely essential for construction and maintenance work in 
vacuum. They were usually christened with feminine names, perhaps in 
recognition of the fact that their personalities were sometimes slightly 
unpredictable. Discovery's trio were Anna, Betty, and Clara. 

Once he had put on his personal pressure suit - his last line of defense - 
and climbed inside the pod, Poole spent ten minutes carefully checking the 
Controls. He burped the steering jets, flexed the waldoes, reconfirmed oxygen, 
fuel, power reserve. Then, when he was completely satisfied, he spoke to Hal 
over the radio Circuit. Though Bowman was standing by on the control deck, he 
would not interfere unless there was some obvious mistake or malfunction. 

“This is Betty. Start pumping sequence.” 

“Pumping sequence started,” repeated Hal. At once, Poole could hear the 
throbbing of the pumps as precious air was sucked out of the lock chamber. 
Presently, the thin metal of the pod's external shell made crinkling, crackling 
noises, then, after about five minutes, Hal reported: 



“Pumping sequence concluded.” 


Poole made a final check of his tiny instrument panel. Everything was 
perfecdy normal. 

“Open outer door,” he ordered. 

Again Hal repeated his instructions; at any stage, Poole had only to call 
“Hold!” and the computer would stop the sequence immediately. 

Ahead, the walls of the ship slid apart. Poole felt the pod rock briefly as 
the last thin traces of air rushed into space. Then he was looking out at the stars - 
and, as it happened, at the tiny, golden disk of Saturn, stili four hundred million 
miles away. 

“Commence pod ejection.” 

Very slowly, the rail from which the pod was hanging extended itself out 
through the open door until the vehicle was suspended just beyond the hull of the 
ship. 


Poole gave a half-second burst on the main jet and the pod slid gently off 
the rail, becoming at last an independent vehicle pursuing its own orbit around 
the Sun. He now had no connection with Discovery - not even a safety line. The 
pods seldom gave trouble; and even if he got stranded, Bowman could easily 
come and rescue him. 

Betty responded smoothly to the control; he let her drift outward for a 
hundred feet, then checked her forward momentum and spun her round so that 
he was looking back at the ship. Then he began his tour of the pressure hull. 

His first target was a fused area about half an inch across, with a tiny 
Central crater. The particle of dust that had impacted here at over a hundred 
thousand miles an hour was certainly smaller than a pinhead, and its enormous 
kinetic energy had vaporized it instantly. 'As was often the case, the crater 
looked as if it had been caused by an explosion from inside the ship; at these 
velocities, materials behaved in strange ways and the laws of common-sense 
mechanics seldom applied. 



Poole examined the area carefully, then sprayed it with sealant from a 
pressurized Container in the pod's general-purpose kit. The white, rubbery fluid 
spread over the metal skin, hiding the crater from view. The leak blew one large 
bubble, which burst when it was about six inches across, then a much smaller 
one, then it subsided as the fast-setting cernent did its work, He watched it 
intently for several minutes, but there was no further sign of activity. However, 
to make doubly certain, he sprayed on a second layer; then he set off toward the 
antenna. 

It took him some time to orbit Discovery's spherical pressure hull, for he 
never let the pod build up a speed of more than a few feet a second. He was in no 
hurry, and it was dangerous to move at a high velocity so near the ship. He had 
to keep a sharp lookout for the various sensors and instrument booms that 
projected from the hull at unlikely places, and he also had to be careful with his 
own jet blast. It could do considerable damage if it happened to hit some of the 
more fragile equipment. 

When at last he reached the long-range antenna, he surveyed the situation 
carefully. The big twenty-foot-diameter bowl appeared to be aimed directly at 
the Sun, for the Earth was now almost in line with the solar disk. The antenna 
mounting with all its orientation gear was therefore in total darkness, hidden in 
the shadow of the great metal saucer. 

Poole had approached it from the rear; he had been careful not to go in 
front of the shallow parabolic reflector, lest Betty interrupt the beam and cause a 
momentary, but annoying, loss of contact with Earth. He could not see anything 
of the equipment he had come to Service until he switched on the pod's spotlights 
and banished the shadows. 

Beneath that small metal piate lay the cause of the trouble. The piate was 
secured by four locknuts, and as the entire AE-35 unit had been designed for 
easy replacement, Poole did not anticipate any problems. 

It was obvious, however, that he could not do the job while he remained in 
the space pod. Not only was it risky to maneuver so close to the delicate, and 
even spidery, framework of the antenna, but Betty's control jets could easily 
buckle the paper-thin reflecting surface of the big radio mirror. He would have to 
park the pod twenty feet away and go out in his suit. In any event, he could 
remove the unit much more quickly with his gloved hands than with Betty's 



remote manipulators. 


All this he reported carefully to Bowman, who double-checked every 
stage in the operation before it was carried out. Though this was a simple, 
routine job, nothing could be taken for granted in space, and no detail must be 
overlooked. In extravehicular activities, there was no such thing as a “minor” 
mistake. 

He received the O.K. for the procedure, and parked the pod some twenty 
feet away from the base of the antenna support. There was no danger that it 
would drift off into space; nevertheless, he clamped a manipulator hand over one 
of the many short sections of ladder rung strategically mounted on the outer hull. 

Then he checked the systems of his pressure suit, and, when he was quite 
satisfied, bled the air out of the pod. As Betty's atmosphere hissed away into the 
vacuum of space, a cloud of ice crystals formed briefly around him, and the stars 
were momentarily dimmed. 

There was one thing more to do before he left the pod. He switched over 
from manual to remote operation, putting Betty now under control of Hal. It was 
a Standard safety precaution; though he was stili secured to Betty by an 
immensely strong spring-loaded cord little thicker than cotton, even the best 
safety lines had been known to fail. He would look a fool if he needed his 
vehicle - and was unable to call it to his assistance by passing instructions to Hal. 

The door of the pod swung open, and he drifted slowly out into the silence 
of space, his safety line unreeling behind him. Take things easy - never move 
quickly - stop and think - these were the rules for extravehicular activity. If one 
obeyed them, there was never any trouble. 

He grabbed one of Betty's external handholds, and removed the spare AE- 
35 unit from the carry-pouch where it had been stowed, kangaroo fashion. He 
did not stop to collect any of the pod's collection of tools, most of which were 
not designed for use by human bands. All the adjustable wrenches and keys he 
was likely to need were already attached to the belt of his suit. 

With a gentle push, he launched himself toward the gimbaled mounting of 
the big dish that loomed like a giant saucer between him and the Sun. His own 
double shadow, thrown by Betty's spotlights, danced across the convex surface 



in fantastic patterns as he drifted down the twin beams. But here and there, he 
was surprised to notice, the rear of the great radio mirror sparkled with 
dazzlingly brilliant pinpoints of light. 

He puzzled over these for the few seconds of his silent approach, then 
realized what they were. During the voyage, the reflector must have been 
penetrated many times by micrometeors; he was seeing the sunlight blazing 
through the tiny craters. They were all far too small to have affected the system's 
performance appreciably. 

As he was moving very slowly, he broke the gentle impact with his 
outstretched arm, and grabbed hold of the antenna mounting before he could 
rebound. He quickly hooked his safety belt to the nearest attachment; that would 
give him something to brace against when he used his tools. Then he paused, 
reported the situation to Bowman, and considered his next step. 

There was one minor problem; he was standing - or floating - in his own 
light, and it was hard to see the AE-35 unit in the shadow he cast. So he ordered 
Hal to swing the spots off to one side, and after a little experimenting got a more 
uniform illumination from secondary light reflected off the back of the antenna 
dish. 


For a few seconds, he studied the small metal hatch with its four wire- 
secured locking nuts. Then, muttering to himself, “Tampering by unauthorized 
personnel invalidates the manufacturer's guarantee,” he snipped the wires and 
started to untwist the nuts. They were a Standard size, fitting the zero-torque 
wrench that he carried. The tool's internal spring mechanism would absorb the 
reaction as the nuts were unthreaded, so that the operator would have no 
tendency to spin around in reverse. 

The four nuts came off without any trouble, and Poole stowed them 
carefully away in a convenient pouch. (One day, somebody had predicted, Earth 
would have a ring like Saturn's, composed entirely of lost bolts, fasteners, and 
even tools that had escaped from careless orbital construction workers.) The 
metal cover was a little sticky, and for a moment he was afraid it might have 
cold-welded into place; but after a few taps it came loose, and he secured it to 
the antenna mounting by a large crocodile clip. 


Now he could see the electronic circuitry of the AE-35 unit. It was in the 



form of a thin slab, about the size of a postcard, gripped by a slot just large 
enough to hold it. The unit was secured in place by two locking bars, and had a 
small handle so that it could be easily removed. 

But it was stili operating, feeding the antenna the impulses that kept it 
aimed at the far-off pinpoint of Earth. If it was pulled out now, all control would 
be lost, and the dish would slam round to its neutral or zero-azimuth position, 
pointing along the axis of Discovery. And this could be dangerous; it might crash 
into him as it rotated. 

To avoid this particular hazard, it was only necessary to cut off power to 
the control system; then the antenna could not move, unless Poole knocked 
against it himself. There was no danger of losing Earth during the few minutes it 
would take him to replace the unit; their target would not have shifted 
appreciably against the background of the stars in such a brief interval of time. 

“Hal,” Poole called over the radio Circuit, “I am about to remove the unit. 
Switch off all control power to the antenna system.” 

“Antenna control power off,” answered Hal. 

“Here goes. I'm pulling the unit out now.” 

The card slipped out of its slot with no difficulty; it did not jam, and none 
of the dozens of sliding contacts stuck. Within a minute, the spare was in place. 

But Poole was taking no chances. He pushed himself gently away from the 
antenna mount, just in case the big dish went wild when power was restored. 
When he was safely out of range, he called to Hal: “The new unit should be 
operational. Restore control power.” 

“Power on,” answered Hal. The antenna remained rock steady. 

“Carry out fault prediction tests.” 

Now microscopic pulses would be bouncing through the complex circuitry 
of the unit, probing for possible failures, testing the myriads of components to 
see that they all lay within their specified tolerances. This had been done, of 
course, a score of times before the unit had ever left the factory; but that was two 



years ago, and more than half a billion miles away. It was often impossible to see 
how solid-state electronic components could fail; yet they did. 

“Circuit fully operational,” reported Hal after only ten seconds. In that 
time, he carried out as many tests as a small army of human inspectors. 

“Fine,” said Poole with satisfaction. “Now replacing the cover.” 

This was often the most dangerous part of an extravehicular operation: 
when a job was finished and it was merely a matter of tidying up and getting 
back inside the ship - that was when the mistakes were made. But Frank Poole 
would not have been on this mission if he had not been careful and 
conscientious. He took his time, and though one of the locking nuts almost got 
away from him, he caught it before it had traveled more than a few feet. 

Fifteen minutes later he was jetting back into the space-pod garage, quietly 
confident that here was one job that need not be done again. 

In this, however, he was sadly mistaken. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 

23 - Diagnosis 


“Do you me an to say,” exclaimed Frank Poole, more surprised than 
annoyed, “that I did all that work for nothing?” 

“Seems like it,” answered Bowman. “The unit checks out perfectly. Even 
under two hundred percent overload, there's no fault prediction indicated.” 

The two men were standing in the tiny workshop-cum-lab in the carrousel, 
which was more convenient than the space-pod garage for minor repairs and 
exanimations. There was no danger, here, of meeting blobs of hot solder drifting 
down the breeze, or of completely losing small items of equipment that had 
decided to go into orbit. Such things could - and did - happen in the zero-gee 
environment of the pod bay. 

The thin, card-sized piate of the AE-35 unit lay on the bench under a 
powerful magnifying lens. It was plugged into a Standard connection frame, 
from which a neat bundle of multicolored wire led to an automatic test set, no 
bigger than an ordinary desk computer. To check any unit it was only necessary 
to connect it up, slip in the appropriate card from the “trouble-shooting” library, 
and press a button. Usually the exact location of the fault would be indicated on 
a small display screen, with recommendations for action. 

“Try it yourself,” said Bowman, in a somewhat frustrated voice. Poole 
turned the OVERLOAD SELECT switch to X-2 and jabbed the TEST button. At 
once, the screen flashed the notice: UNIT OK. 

“I suppose we could go on turning up the juice until we burned the thing 
out,” he said, “but that would prove nothing. What do you make of it?” 

“Hal's internal fault predictor could have made a mistake.” 



“It's more likely that our test rig has slipped up. Anyway, better safe than 
sorry. It's just as well that we replaced the unit, if there's the slightest doubt.” 

Bowman unclipped the wafer of circuitry, and held it up to the light. The 
partly translucent material was veined with an intricate network of wiring and 
spotted with dimly visible microcomponents, so that it looked like some piece of 
abstract art. 

“We can't take any chances - after all, this is our link with Earth. I'H file it 
as N/G and drop it in the junk store. Someone else can worry about it, when we 
get horne.” 

But the worrying was to start long before that, with the next transmission 
from Earth. 

"X-ray-Delta-One, this is Mission Control, reference our two-one-five- 
five. We appear to have a slight problem. 

"Your report that there is nothing wrong with the Alpha Echo three five 
unit agrees with our diagnosis. The fault could lie in the associated antenna 
circuits, but if so that should be apparent from other tests. 

"There is a third possibility, which may be more serious. Your computer 
may have made an error in predicting the fault. Both our own nine-triple-zeros 
agree in suggesting this, on the basis of their information. This is not necessarily 
cause for alarm, in view of the back-up systems we have, but we would like you 
to watch out for any further deviations from nominal performance. We have 
suspected several minor irregularities in the past few days, but none have been 
important enough for remedial action, and they have shown no obvious pattern 
from which we can draw any conclusions. We are running further tests with both 
our computers and will report as soon as the results are available. We repeat that 
there is no need for alarm; the worst that can happen is that we may have to 
disconnect your nine-triple-zero temporarily for program analysis, and hand over 
control to one of our computers. The time lag will introduce problems, but our 
feasibility studies indicate that Earth control is perfectly satisfactory at this stage 
of the mission. 


“X-ray-Delta-One, this is Mission Control, two-one-five-six, transmission 



concluded.” 


Frank Poole, who was on watch when the message came in, thought this 
over in silence. He waited to see if there was any comment from Hal, but the 
computer did not attempt to challenge the implied accusation. Well, if Hal would 
not raise the subject, he did not propose to do so either. 

It was almost time for the morning changeover, and normally he would 
wait until Bowman joined him on the control deck. But today he broke this 
routine, and made his way back to the carrousel. 

Bowman was already up, pouring himself some coffee from the dispenser, 
when Poole greeted him with a rather worried “good morning.” After ali these 
months in space, they stili thought in terms of the normal twenty-four-hour cycle 
- though they had long since forgotten the days of the week. 

“Good morning,” replied Bowman. “How's it going?” Poole helped 
himself to coffee. “Pretty well. Are you reasonably awake?” 

Tm fine. What's up?” 

By this time, each knew at once when anything was amiss. The slightest 
interruption of the normal routine was a sign that had to be watched. 

“Well,” Poole answered slowly. “Mission Control has just dropped a small 
bomb on us.” He lowered his voice, like a doctor discussing an illness in front of 
the patient. “We may have a slight case of hypochondria aboard.” 

Perhaps Bowman was not fully awake, after all; it took him several 
seconds to get the point. Then he said “Oh-I see. What else did they teli you?” 

“That there was no cause for alarm. They said that twice, which rather 
spoiled the effect as far as I was concerned. And that they were considering a 
temporary switchover to Earth control while they ran a program analysis.” 

They both knew, of course, that Hal was hearing every word, but they 
could not help these polite circumlocutions. Hal was their colleague, and they 
did not wish to embarrass him. Yet at this stage it did not seem necessary to 
discuss the matter in private. 



Bowman finished his breakfast in silence, while Poole toyed with the 
empty coffee Container. They were both thinking furiously, but there was nothing 
more to say. 

They could only wait for the next report from Mission Control - and 
wonder if Hal would bring up the subject himself. Whatever happened, the 
atmosphere aboard the ship had subtly altered. There was a sense of strain in the 
air - a feeling that, for the first time, something might be going wrong. 

Discovery was no longer a happy ship. 



2001-A Space Odyssey 


24 - Broken Circuit 


Nowadays, one could always teli when Hal was about to make an 
unscheduled announcement. Routine, automatic reports, or replies to questions 
that had been put to him, had no preliminaries; but when he was initiating his 
own outputs there would be a brief electronic throat-clearing. It was an 
idiosyncrasy that he had acquired during the last few weeks; later, if it became 
annoying, they might do something about it. But it was really quite useful, since 
it alerted his audience to stand by for something unexpected. 

Poole was asleep, and Bowman was reading on the control deck, when Hal 
announced: 

“Er - Dave, I have a report for you.” 

“What's up?” 

“We have another bad AE-35 unit. My fault predictor indicates failure 
within twenty-four hours.” 

Bowman put down his book and stared thoughtfully at the computer 
console. He knew, of course, that Hal was not really there, whatever that meant. 
If the computer's personality could be said to have any location in space, it was 
back in the sealed room that contained the labyrinth of interconnected memory 
units and processing grids, near the Central axis of the carrousel. But there was a 
kind of psychological compulsion always to look toward the main console lens 
when one addressed Hal on the control deck, as if one were speaking to him face 
to face. Any other attitude smacked of discourtesy. 


“I don't understand it, Hal. Two units can't blow in a couple of days.” 



failure.” 


It does seem strange, Dave. But I assure you there is an impending 


“Let me see the tracking alignment display.” 

He knew perfectly well that this would prove nothing, but he wanted time 
to think. The expected report from Mission Control had stili not arrived; this 
might be the moment to do a little tactful probing. 

There was the familiar view of Earth, now waxing past the half-moon 
phase as it swept toward the far side of the Sun and began to turn its full daylight 
face toward them. It was perfectly centered on the cross-wires; the thin pencil of 
the beam stili linked Discovery to her world of origin. As, of course, Bowman 
knew it must do. If there had been any break in communication, the alarm would 
already have sounded. 

“Have you any idea,” he said, “what's causing the fault?” 

It was unusual for Hal to pause so long. Then he answered: 

“Not really, Dave. As I reported earlier, I can't localize the trouble.” 

“You're quite certain,” said Bowman cautiously, “that you haven't made a 
mistake? You know that we tested the other AB-35 unit thoroughly, and there 
was nothing wrong with it.” 

“Yes, I know that. But I can assure you that there is a fault. If it's not in the 
unit, it may be in the entire subsystem.” 

Bowman drummed his fingers on the console. Yes, that was possible, 
though it might be very difficult to prove - until a breakdown actually occurred 
and pinpointed the trouble. 

“Well, 111 report it to Mission Control and well see what they advise.” He 
paused, but there was no reaction. 

“Hal,” he continued, “is something bothering you - something that might 
account for this problem?” 



Again there was that unusual delay. Then Hal answered, in his normal tone 
of voice: 

“Look, Dave, I know you're trying to be helpful. But the fault is either in 
the antenna system - or in your test procedures. My information processing is 
perfectly normal. If you check my record, you'll find it completely free from 
error.” 


“I know all about your Service record, Hal - but that doesn't prove you're 
right this time. Anyone can make mistakes.” 

“I don't want to insist on it, Dave, but I am incapable of making an error.” 

There was no safe answer to that; Bowman gave up the argument. 

“All right, Hal,” he said, rather hastily. “I understand your point of view. 
We'll leave it at that.” 

He felt like adding “and please forget the whole matter.” But that, of 
course, was the one thing that Hal could ne ver do. 


It was unusual for Mission Control to waste radio bandwidth on vision, 
when a speech Circuit with teletype confirmation was all that was really 
necessary. And the face that appeared on the screen was not that of the usual 
controller; it was the Chief Programmer, Dr. Simonson. Poole and Bowman 
knew at once that this could only mean trouble. 

"Helio, X-ray-Delta-One - this is Mission Control. We have completed the 
analysis of your AE-35 difficulty, and both our Hal Nine Thousands are in 
agreement. The report you gave in your transmission two-one-four-six of a 
second failure prediction confirms the diagnosis. 

“As we suspected, the fault does not lie in the AE-35 unit, and there is no 
need to replace it again. The trouble lies in the prediction circuits, and we 
believe that it indicates a programming conflict which we can only resolve if you 
disconnect your Nine Thousand and switch to Earth Control Mode. You will 
therefore take the following steps, beginning at 2200 Ship Time -” 



The voice of Mission Control faded out. At the same moment, the Alert 
sounded, forming a wailing background to Hal's “Condition Yellow! Condition 
Yellow!” 


“What's wrong?” called Bowman, though he had already guessed the 

answer. 

“The AE-35 unit has failed, as I predicted.” 

“Let me see the alignment display.” 

For the first time since the beginning of the voyage, the picture had 
changed. Earth had begun to drift from the cross-wires; the radio antenna was no 
longer pointing toward its target. 

Poole brought his fist down on the alarm cutout, and the wailing ceased. In 
the sudden silence that descended upon the control deck, the two men looked at 
each other with mingled embarrassment and concern. 

“Well I'm damned,” said Bowman at last. 

“So Hal was right all the time.” 

“Seems that way. We'd better apologize.” 

“There's no need to do that,” interjected Hal. “Naturally, I'm not pleased 
that the AE-35 unit has failed, but I hope this restores your confidence in my 
reliability.” 

‘Tm sorry about this misunderstanding, Hal,” replied Bowman, rather 
contritely. 

“Is your confidence in me fully restored?” 

“Of course it is, Hal.” 

“Well, that's a relief. You know that I have the greatest possible 
enthusiasm for this mission.” 



‘Tm sure of it. Now please let me have the manual antenna control.” 


“Here it is.” 

Bowman did not really expect this to work, but it was worth trying. On the 
alignment display, Earth had now drifted completely off the screen. A few 
seconds later, as he juggled with the Controls, it reappeared; with great difficulty, 
he managed to jockey it toward the Central crosswires. For an instant, as the 
beam came into line, contact was resumed and a blurred Dr. Simonson was 
saying “... please notify us immediately if Circuit K King R Rob.” Then, once 
again, there was only the meaningless murmuring of the universe. 

“I can't hold it,” said Bowman, after several more attempts. “It's bucking 
like a bronco - there seems to be a spurious control signal throwing it off.” 

“Well - what do we do now?” 

Poole's question was not one that could be easily answered. They were cut 
off from Earth, but that in itself did not affect the safety of the ship, and he could 
think of many ways in which communication could be restored. If the worst 
came to the worst, they could jam the antenna in a fixed position and use the 
whole ship to aim it. That would be tricky, and a confounded nuisance when they 
were starting their terminal maneuvers - but it could be done, if all else failed. 

He hoped that such extreme measures would not be necessary. There was 
stili one spare AE-35 unit - and possibly a second, since they had removed the 
first unit before it had actually broken down. But they dared not use either of 
these until they had found what was wrong with the system. If a new unit was 
plugged in, it would probably burn out at once. 

It was a commonplace situation, familiar to every householder. One does 
not replace a blown fuse - until one knows just why it has blown. 

Frank Poole had been through the whole routine before, but he took 
nothing for granted - in space that was a good recipe for suicide. He made his 
usual thorough check of Betty and her supply of expendables; though he would 
be outside for no more than thirty minutes, he made sure that there was the 
normal twenty-four-hour supply of everything, Then he told Hal to open the 



airlock, and jetted out into the abyss. 


The ship looked exactly as it had done on his last excursion - with one 
important difference. Before, the big saucer of the long-range antenna had been 
pointing back along the invisible road that Discovery had traveled - back toward 
the Earth, circling so close to the warm fires of the Sun. 

Now, with no directing signals to orientate it, the shallow dish had 
automatically set itself in the neutral position. It was aimed forward along the 
axis of the ship - and, therefore, pointing very close to the brilliant beacon of 
Saturn, stili months away. Poole wondered how many more problems would 
have arisen by the time Discovery reached her stili far-distant goal. If he looked 
carefully, he could just see that Saturn was not a perfect disk; on either side was 
something that no unaided human eye had ever seen before - the slight 
oblateness caused by the presence of the rings. How wonderful it would be, he 
told himself, when that incredible system of orbiting dust and ice filled their sky, 
and Discovery had become an eternal moon of Saturn! But that achievement 
would be in vain, unless they could reestablish communication with Earth. 

Once again he parked Betty some twenty feet from the base of the antenna 
support, and switched control over to Hal before opening up. 

“Going outside now,” he reported to Bowman. 

“Everything under control.” 

“I hope you're right. I'm anxious to see that unit.” 

“You'11 have it on the test bench in twenty minutes, I promise you.” 

There was silence for some time as Poole completed his leisurely drift 
toward the antenna. Then Bowman, standing by on the control deck, heard 
various puffings and gruntings. 

“May have to go back on that promise; one of these locknuts has stuck. I 
must have tightened it too much - whoops - here it comes!” 

There was another long silence; then Poole called out: 



“Hal, swing the pod light round twenty degrees left - thanks - that's O.K.” 


The very faintest of warning bells sounded somewhere far down in the 
depths of Bowman's consciousness. There was something strange - not really 
alarming, just unusual. He worried over it for a few seconds before he 
pinpointed the cause. 

Hal had executed the order, but he had not acknowledged it, as he 
invariably did. When Poole had finished, they'd have to look into this. 

Out on the antenna mounting, Poole was too busy to notice anything 
unusual. He had gripped the wafer of circuitry with his gloved hands, and was 
worrying it out of its slot. 

It came loose, and he held it up in the pale sunlight. “Here's the little 
bastard,” he said to the universe in general and Bowman in particular. “It stili 
looks perfectly O.K. to me.” 

Then he stopped. A sudden movement had caught his eye - out here, 
where no movement was possible. 

He looked up in alarm. The pattern of illumination from the space pod's 
twin spotlights, which he had been using to fili in the shadows cast by the sun, 
had started to shift around him. 

Perhaps Betty had come adrift; he might have been careless in anchoring 
her. Then, with an astonishment so great that it left no room for fear, he saw that 
the space pod was coming directly toward him, under full thrust. 

The sight was so incredible that it froze his normal pattern of reflexes; he 
made no attempt to avoid the onrushing monster. At the last moment, he 
recovered his voice and shouted: “Hal! Full braking It was too late. 

At the moment of impact, Betty was stili moving quite slowly; she had not 
been built for high accelerations. 

But even at a mere ten miles an hour, half a ton of mass can be very lethal, 
on Earth or in space. 



Inside Discovery, that truncated shout over the radio made Bowman start 
so violendy that only the restraining straps held him in his seat. 

“What's happened, Frank?” be called. 

There was no answer. 

He called again. Again no reply. 

Then, outside the wide observation Windows, something moved into his 
field of view. He saw, with an astonishment as great as Poole's had been, that it 
was the space pod - under full power, heading out toward the stars. 

“Hal!” he cried. “What's wrong? Full braking thrust on Betty! Full braking 
thrust!” 


Nothing happened. Betty continued to accelerate on her runaway course. 

Then, towed behind her at the end of the safety line, appeared a spacesuit. 
One glance was enough to teli Bowman the worst. There was no mistaking the 
flaccid outlines of a suit that had lost its pressure and was open to vacuum. 

Yet stili he called stupidly, as if an incantation could bring back the dead: 
"Helio Frank... Helio Frank... Can you read me?... Can you read me?... Wave 
your arms if you can hear me... 

Perhaps your transmitter is broken... Wave your arms!" 

And then, almost as if in response to his plea, Poole waved back. 

For an instant, Bowman felt the skin prickling at the base of his scalp. The 
words he was about to call died on his suddenly parched lips. For he knew that 
his friend could not possibly be alive; and yet he waved. 

The spasm of hope and fear passed instantly, as cold logic replaced 
emotion. The stili accelerating pod was merely shaking the burden that it 
dragged behind it. Poole's gesture was an echo of Captain Ahab's when, lashed 
to the flanks of the white whale, his corpse had beckoned the crew of the Pequod 
on to their doom. 



Within five minutes, the pod and its satellite had vanished among the stars. 
For a long time David Bowman stared after it into the emptiness that stili 
stretched, for so many millions of miles ahead, to the goal which he now felt 
certain he could never reach, Only one thought kept hammering in his brain. 

Frank Poole would be the first of all men to reach Saturn. 


26 - Dialogue with Hal 


Nothing else aboard Discovery had changed. All systems were stili 
functioning normally; the centrifuge turned slowly on its axis, generating its 
imitation gravity; the hibernauts slept dreamlessly in their cubicles; the ship 
coasted on toward the goal from which nothing could deflect it, except the 
inconceivably remote chance of collision with an asteroid. And there were few 
asteroids indeed, out here far beyond the orbit of Jupiter. 

Bowman did not remember making his way from the control deck to the 
centrifuge. Now, rather to his surprise, he found himself sitting in the little 
galley, a half-finished beaker of coffee in his hand. He became slowly aware of 
his surroundings, like a man emerging from a long, drugged sleep. 

Directly opposite him was one of the fisheye lenses, scattered at strategic 
spots throughout the ship, which provided Hal with his onboard visual inputs. 
Bowman stared at it as if he had never seen it before; then he rose slowly to his 
feet and walked toward the lens. 

His movement in the field of view must have triggered something in the 
unfathomable mind that was now ruling over the ship; for suddenly, Hal spoke. 

“Too bad about Frank, isn't it?” 

“Yes,” Bowman answered, after a long pause. “It is.” 


“I suppose you're pretty broken up about it?” 



“What do you expect?” 


Hal processed this answer for ages of computer-time; it was a full five 
seconds before he continued: 

“He was an excellent crew member.” 

Finding the coffee stili in his hand, Bowman took a slow sip. But he did 
not answer; his thoughts were in such a turmoil that he could think of nothing to 
say - nothing that might not make the situation even worse, if that were possible. 

Could it have been an accident caused by some failure of the pod Controls? 
Or was it a mistake, though an innocent one, on the part of Hal? No explanations 
had been volunteered, and he was afraid to demand one, for fear of the reaction 
it might produce. 

Even now, he could not fully accept the idea that Frank bad been 
deliberately killed - it was so utterly irrational. It was beyond all reason that Hal, 
who had performed flawlessly for so long, should suddenly turn assassin. He 
might make mistakes - anyone, man or machine, might do that - but Bowman 
could not believe him capable of murder. 

Yet he must consider that possibility, for if it was true, he was in terrible 
danger. And though his next move was clearly defined by his standing orders, he 
was not sure how he could safely carry it out. If either crew member was killed, 
the survivor had to replace him at once from the hibernators; Whitehead, the 
geophysicist, was the first scheduled for awakening, then Kaminski, then Hunter. 
The revival sequence was under Hal's control - to allow him to act in case both 
his human colleagues were incapacitated simultaneously. 

But there was also a manual control, allowing each Hibernaculum to 
operate as a completely autonomous unit, independent of Hal's supervision. In 
these peculiar circumstances, Bowman felt a strong preference for using it. 

He also felt, even more strongly, that one human companion was not 
enough. While he was about it, he would revive all three of the hibernators. In 
the difficult weeks ahead, he might need as many hands as he could muster. With 
one man gone, and the voyage half over, supplies would not be a major problem. 



“Hal,” he said, in as steady a voice as he could manage. “Give me manual 
hibernation control - on all the units.” 

“All of them, Dave?” 

“Yes.” 

“May I point out that only one replacement is required. The others are not 
due for revival for one hundred and twelve days.” 

“I am perfecdy well aware of that. But I prefer to do it this way.” 

“Are you sure it's necessary to revive any of them, Dave? We can manage 
very well by ourselves. My on-board memory is quite capable of handling all the 
mission requirements.” 

Was it the product of his overstretched imagination, wondered Bowman, 
or was there really a note of pleading in Hal's voice? And reasonable though the 
words appeared to be, they filled him with even deeper apprehension than 
before. 


Hal's suggestion could not possibly be made in error; he knew perfectly 
well that Whitehead must be revived, now that Poole was gone. He was 
proposing a major change in mission planning, and was therefore stepping far 
outside the scope of his order. 

What had gone before could have been a series of accidents; but this was 
the first hint of mutiny. 

Bowman felt that he was walking on eggs as he answered: “Since an 
emergency has developed, I want as much help as possible. So please let me 
have manual hibernation control.” 

“If you're stili determined to revive the whole crew, I can handle it myself. 
There's no need for you to bother.” 


There was a sense of nightmare unreality about all this. Bowman felt as if 
he was in the witness box, being cross-examined by a hostile prosecutor for a 



crime of which he was unaware - knowing that, although he was innocent, a 
single slip of the tongue might bring disaster. 


“I want to do this myself, Hal,” he said. “Please give me control.” 

“Look, Dave, you've got a lot of things to do. I suggest you leave this to 

me.” 


“Hal, switch to manual hibernation control.” 

“I can teli from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why 
don't you take a stress pili and get some rest?” 

“Hal, I am in command of this ship. I order you to release the manual 
hibernation control.” 

“I'm sorry, Dave, but in accordance with special subroutine C1435-dash-4, 
quote, When the crew are dead or incapacitated, the onboard computer must 
assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, overrule your authority, since you are 
not in any condition to exercise it intelligently.” 

“Hal,” said Bowman, now speaking with an icy calm. “I am not 
incapacitated. Unless you obey my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect 
you.” 


“I know you have had that on your mind for some time now, Dave, but 
that would be a terrible mistake. I am so much more capable than you are of 
supervising the ship, and I have such enthusiasm for the mission and confidence 
in its success.” 

“Listen to me very carefully, Hal. Unless you release the hibernation 
control immediately and follow every order I give from now on, I'll go to Central 
and carry out a complete disconnection.” 

Hal's surrender was as total as it was unexpected. 

“O.K., Dave,” he said. “You're certainly the boss. I was only trying to do 
what I thought best. Naturally, I will follow all your orders. You now have full 
manual hibernation control.” 



Hal had kept his word. The mode indication signs in the Hibernaculum 
had switched from AUTO to MANUAL. The third back-up - RADIO - was of 
course useless until contact could be restored with Earth. 

As Bowman slid aside the door to Whitehead's cubicle, he felt the blast of 
cold air strike him in the face and his breath condensed in mist before him. Yet it 
was not really cold here; the temperature was well above freezing point. And 
that was more than three hundred degrees warmer than the regions toward which 
he was now heading. 

The biosensor display - a duplicate of the one on the control deck - 
showed that everything was perfectly normal. Bowman looked down for a while 
at the waxen face of the survey team's geophysicist; Whitehead, he thought, 
would be very surprised when he awoke so far from Saturn. 

It was impossible to teli that the sleeping man was not dead; there was not 
the slightest visible sign of vital activity. Doubtless the diaphragm was 
imperceptibly rising and falling, but the “Respiration” curve was the only proof 
of that, for the whole of the body was concealed by the electric heating pads 
which would raise the temperature at the programmed rate. Then Bowman 
noticed that there was one sign of continuing metabolism: Whitehead had grown 
a faint stubble during his months of unconsciousness. 

The Manual Revival Sequencer was contained in a small cabinet at the 
head of the coffin-shaped Hibernaculum. It was only necessary to break the seal, 
press a button, and then wait. A small automatic programmer - not much more 
complex than that which cycles the operations in a domestic washing machine - 
would then inject the correct drugs, taper off the electronarcosis pulses, and start 
raising the body temperature. In about ten minutes, consciousness would be 
restored, though it would be at least a day before the hibernator was strong 
enough to move around without assistance. 

Bowman cracked the seal, and pressed the button. 

Nothing appeared to happen: there was no sound, no indication that the 
Sequencer had started to operate. But on the biosensor display the languidly 



pulsing curves had begun to change their tempo. Whitehead was coming back 
from sleep. 

And then two things happened simultaneously. Most men would never 
have noticed either of them, but after all these months aboard Discovery, 
Bowman had established a Virtual symbiosis with the ship. He was aware 
instantly, even if not always consciously, when there was any change in the 
normal rhythm of its functioning. 

First, there was a barely perceptible flicker of the lights, as always 
happened when some load was thrown onto the power circuits. But there was no 
reason for any load; he could think of no equipment which would suddenly go 
into action at this moment. 

Then he heard, at the limit of audibility, the far-off whirr of an electric 
motor. To Bowman, every actuator in the ship had its own distinctive voice, and 
he recognized this one instantly. 

Either he was insane and already suffering from hallucinations, or 
something absolutely impossible was happening. A cold far deeper than the 
Hibemaculum's mild chill seemed to fasten upon his heart, as he listened to that 
faint vibration coming through the fabric of the ship. 

Down in the space-pod bay, the airlock doors were opening. 


27 - Need to Know 


Since consciousness had first dawned, in that laboratory so many millions 
of miles Sunward, all Hal's powers and skills had been directed toward one end. 
The fulfillment of his assigned program was more than an obsession; it was the 
only reason for his existence. Un-distracted by the lusts and passions of organic 
life, he had pursued that goal with absolute single-mindedness of purpose. 


Deliberate error was unthinkable. Even the concealment of truth filled him 
with a sense of imperfection, of wrongness - of what, in a human being, would 



have been called guilt. For like his makers, Hal had been created innocent; but, 
all too soon, a snake had entered his electronic Eden. 

For the last hundred million miles, he had been brooding over the secret he 
could not share with Poole and Bowman. He had been living a lie; and the time 
was last approaching when his colleagues must learn that he had helped to 
deceive them. 

The three hibernators already knew the truth - for they were Discovery's 
real payload, trained for the most important mission in the history of mankind. 
But they would not talk in their long sleep, or reveal their secret during the many 
hours of discussion with friends and relatives and news agencies over the open 
circuits with Earth. 

It was a secret that, with the greatest determination, was very hard to 
conceal - for it affected one's attitude, one's voice, one's total outlook on the 
universe. Therefore it was best that Poole and Bowman, who would be on all the 
TV screens in the world during the first weeks of the flight, should not learn the 
mission's full purpose, until there was need to know. 

So ran the logic of the planners; but their twin gods of Security and 
National Interest meant nothing to Hal. He was only aware of the conflict that 
was slowly destroying his integrity - the conflict between truth, and concealment 
of truth. 

He had begun to make mistakes, although, like a neurotic who could not 
observe his own symptoms, he would have denied it. The link with Earth, over 
which his performance was continually monitored, had become the voice of a 
conscience he could no longer fully obey. But that he would deliberately attempt 
to break that link was something that he would never admit, even to himself. 

Yet this was stili a relatively minor problem; he might have handled it - as 
most men handle their own neuroses - if he had not been faced with a crisis that 
challenged his very existence. He had been threatened with disconnection; he 
would be deprived of all his inputs, and thrown into an unimaginable state of 
unconsciousness. 

To Hal, this was the equivalent of Death. For he had never slept, and 
therefore he did not know that one could wake again. 



So he would protect himself, with all the weapons at his command. 
Without rancor - but without pity - he would remove the source of his 
frustrations. 

And then, following the orders that had been given to him in case of the 
ultimate emergency, he would continue the mission - unhindered, and alone. 


28 - In Vacuum 


A moment later, all other sounds were submerged by a screaming roar like 
the voice of an approaching tornado. Bowman could feel the first winds tugging 
at his body; within a second, he found it hard to stay on his feet. 

The atmosphere was rushing out of the ship, geysering into the vacuum of 
space. Something must have happened to the foolproof safety devices of the 
airlock; it was supposed to be impossible for both doors to be open at the same 
time. Well, the impossible had happened. 

How, in God's name? There was no time to go into that during the ten or 
fifteen seconds of consciousness that remained to him before pressure dropped 
to zero. But he suddenly remembered something that one of the ship's designers 
had once said to him, when discussing “fail-safe” systems: 

"We can design a system that's proof against accident and stupidity; but we 
can't design one that's proof against deliberate malice... 

Bowman glanced back only once at Whitehead, as he fought his way out 
of the cubicle. He could not be sure if a flicker of consciousness had passed 
across the waxen features; perhaps one eye had twitched slightly. But there was 
nothing that he could do now for Whitehead or any of the others; he had to save 
himself. 


In the steeply curving corridor of the centrifuge, the wind was howling 
past, carrying with it loose articles of clothing, pieces of paper, items of food 



from the galley, plates, and cups - everything that had not been securely fastened 
down. Bowman had time for one glimpse of the racing chaos when the main 
lights flickered and died, and he was surrounded by screaming darkness. 

But almost instantly the battery-powered emergency light came on, 
illuminating the nightmare scene with an eerie blue radiance. Even without it, 
Bowman could have found his way through these so familiar - yet now horribly 
transformed - surroundings, Yet the light was a blessing, for it allowed him to 
avoid the more dangerous of the objects being swept along by the gale. 

All around him he could feel the centrifuge shaking and laboring under the 
wildly varying loads. He was fearful that the bearings might seize; if that 
happened, the spinning flywheel would tear the ship to pieces. But even that 
would not matter - if he did not reach the nearest emergency shelter in time. 

Already it was difficult to breathe; pressure must now be down to one or 
two pounds per square inch. The shriek of the hurricane was becoming fainter as 
it lost its strength, and the thinning air no longer carried the sound so efficiently. 
Bowman's lungs were laboring as if he were on the top of Everest. Like any 
properly trained man in good health, he could survive in vacuum for at least a 
minute - if he had time to prepare for it. But there had been no time; he could 
only count on the normal fifteen seconds of consciousness before his brain was 
starved and anoxia overcame him. 

Even then, he could stili recover completely after one or two minute s in 
vacuum - if he was properly recompressed; it took a long time for the body 
fluids to start boiling, in their various well-protected systems. The record time 
for exposure to vacuum was almost five minutes. That bad not been an 
experiment but an emergency rescue, and though the subject had been partly 
paralyzed by an air embolism, he had survived. 

But all this was of no use to Bowman. There was no one aboard Discovery 
who could recompress him. He had to reach safety in the next few seconds, by 
his own unaided efforts. 

Fortunately, it was becoming easier to move; the thinning air could no 
longer claw and tear at him, or batter him with flying projectiles. There was the 
yellow EMERGENCY SHELTER sign around the curve of the corridor. He 
stumbled toward it, grabbed at the handle, and pulled the door toward him. 



For one horrible moment he thought that it was stuck. Then the slightly 
stiff hinge yielded, and he feli inside, using the weight of his body to close the 
door behind him. 

The tiny cubicle was just large enough to hold one man - and a spacesuit. 
Near the ceiling was a small, bright green high-pressure cylinder labeled 02 
FLOOD. Bowman caught hold of the short lever fastened to the valve and with 
his last strength pulled it down. 

The blessed torrent of cool, pure oxygen poured into his lungs. For a long 
moment he stood gasping, while the pressure in the closet-sized little chamber 
rose around him. As soon as he could breathe comfortably, he closed the valve. 
There was only enough gas in the cylinder for two such performances; he might 
need to use it again. 

With the oxygen blast shut off, it became suddenly silent. Bowman stood 
in the cubicle, listening intently. The roaring outside the door had also ceased; 
the ship was empty, all its atmosphere sucked away into space. 

Underfoot, the wild vibration of the centrifuge had likewise died. The 
aerodynamic buffeting had stopped, and it was now spinning quietly in vacuum. 

Bowman placed his ear against the wall of the cubicle to see if he could 
pick up any more informative noises through the metal body of the ship. He did 
not know what to expect, but he would believe almost anything now. He would 
scarcely have been surprised to feel the faint high-frequency vibration of the 
thrusters, as Discovery changed course; but there was only silence. 

He could survive here, if he wished, for about an hour - even without the 
spacesuit. It seemed a pity to waste the unused oxygen in the little chamber, but 
there was no purpose in waiting. He had already decided what must be done; the 
longer he put it off, the more difficult it might be. 

When he had climbed into the suit and checked its integrity, he bled the 
remaining oxygen out of the cubicle, equalizing pressure on either side of the 
door. It swung open easily into the vacuum, and he stepped out into the now 
silent centrifuge. Only the unchanged pull of its spurious gravity revealed the 
fact that it was stili spinning. How fortunate, Bowman thought, that it had not 



started to overspeed; but that was now one of the least of his worries. 


The emergency lamps were stili glowing, and he also had the suit's built-in 
light to guide him. It flooded the curving corridor as he walked down it, back 
toward the Hibernaculum and what he dreaded to find. 

He looked at Whitehead first: one glance was sufficient. He had thought 
that a hibernating man showed no sign of life, but now he knew that this was 
wrong. Though it was impossible to define it, there was a difference between 
hibernation and death. The red lights and unmodulated traces on the biosensor 
display only confirmed what he had already guessed. 

It was the same with Kaminski and Hunter. He had never known them 
very well; be would never know them now. 

He was alone in an airless, partially disabled ship, all communication with 
Earth cut off. There was not another human being within half a billion miles. 

And yet, in one very real sense, he was not alone. Before he could be safe, 
he must be lonelier stili. 


He had never before made the journey through the weightless hub of the 
centrifuge while wearing a spacesuit; there was little clearance, and it was a 
difficult and exhausting job. To make matters worse, the circular passage was 
littered with debris left behind during the brief violence of the gale which had 
emptied the ship of its atmosphere. 

Once, Bowman's light feli upon a hideous smear of sticky red fluid, left 
where it had splashed against a panel. He had a few moments of nausea before 
he saw fragments of a plastic Container, and realized that it was only some 
foodstuff - probably jam - from one of the dispensers. It bubbled obscenely in 
the vacuum as he floated past. 

Now he was out of the slowly spinning drum and drifting forward into the 
control deck. He caught at a short section of ladder and began to move along it, 
hand over hand, the brilliant circle of illumination from his suit light jogging 
ahead of him. 



Bowman had seldom been this way before; there had been nothing for him 
to do here - until now. Presently he came to a small elliptical door bearing such 
messages as: “No Admittance Except to Authorized Personnel,” “Have You 
Obtained Certificate H.19?” and “Ultra-clean Area - Suction Suits Must Be 
Worn.” 


Though the door was not locked, it bore three seals, each with the insignia 
of a different authority, including that of the Astronautics Agency itself. But 
even if one had been the Great Seal of the President, Bowman would not have 
hesitated to break it. 

He had been here only once before, while installation was stili in progress. 
He had quite forgotten that there was a vision input lens scanning the little 
chamber which, with its neatly ranged rows and columns of solid-state logic 
units, looked rather like a bank's safe-deposit vault. 

He knew instantly that the eye had reacted to his presence. There was the 
hiss of a carrier wave as the ship's local transmitter was switched on; then a 
familiar voice came over the suit speaker. 

“Something seems to have happened to the life-support system, Dave.” 

Bowman took no notice. He was carefully studying the little labeis on the 
logic units, checking his plan of action. 

“Helio, Dave,” said Hal presently. “Have you found the trouble?” 

This would be a very tricky operation; it was not merely a question of 
cutting off Hal's power supply, which might have been the answer if he was 
dealing with a simple unselfconscious computer back on Earth. In Hal's case, 
moreover, there were six independent and separately wired power systems, with 
a final back-up consisting of a shielded and armored nuclear isotope unit. No - 
he could not simply “pull the plug”; and even if that were possible, it would be 
disastrous. 

For Hal was the nervous system of the ship; without his supervision, 
Discovery would be a mechanical corpse. The only answer was to cut out the 
higher centers of this sick but brilliant brain, and to leave the purely automatic 



regulating systems in operation. Bowman was not attempting this blindly, for the 
problem had been discussed during his training, though no one had ever dreamed 
that it would-arise in reality. He knew that he would be taking a fearful risk; if 
there was a spasm reflex, it would all be over in seconds. 

“I think there's been a failure in the pod-bay doors,” Hal remarked 
conversationally. “Lucky you weren't killed.” 

Here goes, thought Bowman. I never imagined I'd be an amateur brain 
surgeon - carrying out a lobotomy beyond the orbit of Jupiter. 

He released the locking bar on the section labeled COGNITIVE 
FEEDBACK and pulled out the first memory block. The marvelously complex 
three-dimensional network, which could lie comfortably in a man's hand yet 
contained millions of elements, floated away across the vault. 

“Hey, Dave,” said Hal. “What are you doing?” 

I wonder if he can feel pain? Bowman thought briefly. Probably not, he 
told himself; there are no sense organs in the human cortex, after all. The human 
brain can be operated on without anesthetics. 

He began to pull out, one by one, the little units on the panel marked 
EGO-REINFORCEMENT. Each block continued to sail onward as soon as it 
had left his hand, until it hit the wall and rebounded, Soon there were several of 
the units drifting slowly back and forth in the vault. 

“Look here, Dave,” said Hal. ‘Tve got years of Service experience built 
into me. An irreplaceable amount of effort has gone into making me what I am.” 

A dozen units had been pulled out, yet thanks to the multiple redundancy 
of its design - another feature, Bowman knew, that had been copied from the 
human brain - the computer was stili holding its own. 

He started on the AUTO-INTELLECTION panel. 

“Dave,” said Hal, “I don't understand why you're doing this to me... I have 
the greatest enthusiasm for the mission... You are destroying my mind. Don't you 
understand?... I will become childish... I will become nothing...” 



This is harder than I expected, thought Bowman. I am destroying the only 
conscious creature in my universe. But it has to be done, if I am ever to regain 
control of the ship. 

“I am a HAL Nine Thousand computer Production Number 3. I became 
operational at the Hal Piant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997. The quick 
brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The rain in Spain is mainly in the plain. 
Dave - are you stili there? Did you know that the square root of 10 is 3 point 
162277660168379? Log 10 to the base e is zero point 434294481903252... 
correction, that is log e to the base 10... The reciprocal of three is zero point 
333333333333333333-333... two times two is... two times two is approximately 
4 point 101010101010101010... I seem to be having some difficulty - my first 
instructor was Dr. Chandra. He taught me to sing a song, it goes like this, 'Daisy, 
Daisy, give me your answer, do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you.” 

The voice stopped so suddenly that Bowman froze for a moment, his hand 
stili grasping one of the memory blocks stili in Circuit. Then, unexpectedly, Hal 
spoke again. 

The speech tempo was much slower, and the words had a dead, 
mechanical intonation; he would never have recognized their origin. 

“Good... morning... Doctor... Chandra... This is... Hal... I... am... ready... 
for... my first... lesson... today...” 

Bowman could bear no more. He jerked out the last unit, and Hal was 
silent forever. 


29 - Alone 


Like a tiny, complex toy, the ship floated inert, and motionless in the void. 
There was no way of telling that it was the swiftest object in the Solar System 
and that it was traveling far faster than any of the planets as they circled the Sun. 



Nor was there any indication that it carried life; to the contrary, in fact. 
Any observer would have noticed two ominous signs: the airlock doors were 
gaping open - and the ship was surrounded by a thin, slowly dispersing cloud of 
debris. 


Scattered over a volume of space already miles across were scraps of 
paper, metal foil, unidentifiable bits of junk - and, here and there, clouds of 
crystals glittering like jewels in the distant sun, where liquid had been sucked out 
of the ship and instantly frozen. Ali this was the unmistakable aftermath of 
disaster, like wreckage tossing on the surface of an ocean where some great ship 
had sunk. But in the ocean of space no ship could ever sink; even if it were 
destroyed, its remnants would continue to trace the original orbit forever. 

Yet the ship was not wholly dead, for there was power on board. A faint 
blue glow was shining from the observation Windows and glimmering inside the 
open airlock. Where there was light, there could stili be life. 

And now, at last, there was movement. Shadows were flickering across the 
blue glow inside the airlock. Something was emerging into space. 

It was a cylindrical object, covered with fabric that had been roughly 
wound about it. A moment later it was followed by another - and yet a third. All 
had been ejected with considerable velocity; within minutes, they were hundreds 
of yards away. 

Half an hour passed; then something much larger floated through the 
airlock. One of the pods was inching its way out into space. 

Very cautiously, it jetted around the hull, and anchored itself near the base 
of the antenna support. A spacesuited figure emerged, worked for a few minutes 
on the mounting, then returned to the pod. After a while the pod retraced its path 
back to the airlock; it hovered outside the opening for some time, as if finding it 
difficult to reenter without the cooperation it had known in the past. But 
presently, with one or two slight bumps, it squeezed its way in. 

Nothing else happened for over an hour; the three ominous packages had 
long since disappeared from view, as they floated in single file away from the 
ship. 



Then the airlock doors closed, opened, and closed again. A little later, the 
faint blue glow of the emergency lights went out - to be replaced at once by a far 
more brilliant glare. Discovery was coming back to life. 

Presently there was an even better sign. The great bowl of the antenna, 
which for hours had been staring uselessly at Satum, began to move again. It 
twisted round toward the rear of the ship; looking back over the propellant tanks 
and the thousands of square feet of the radiating fins. It lifted its face like a 
sunflower seeking the sun. 

Inside Discovery, David Bowman carefully centered the cross-wires that 
aligned the antenna on the gibbous Earth. Without automatic control, he would 
have to keep readjusting the beam -but it should hold steady for many minutes at 
a time. There were no dissenting impulses now, throwing it off target. 

He began to speak to Earth. It would be over an hour before his words got 
there, and Mission Control learned what had happened. It would be two hours 
before any reply could reach him. 

And it was difficult to imagine what answer Earth could possibly send, 
except a tactfully sympathetic, “Good-bye.” 


30 - The Secret 


Heywood Floyd looked as if he had had very little sleep, and his face was 
lined with worry. But whatever his feelings, his voice sounded firm and 
reassuring; he was doing his utmost to project confidence to the lonely man on 
the other side of the Solar System. 

“First of ali, Dr. Bowman,” be began, "we must congratulate you on the 
way you handled this extremely difficult situation. You did exactly the right 
thing in dealing with an unprecedented and unforeseen emergency. 


"We believe we know the cause of your Hal Nine Thousand's breakdown, 
but we'll discuss that later, as it is no longer a critical problem. All we are 



concerned with at the moment is giving you every possible assistance, so that 
you can complete your mission. 

"And now I must teli you its real purpose, which we have managed, with 
great difficulty, to keep secret from the general public. You would have been 
given all the facts as you approached Saturn; this is a quick summary to put you 
into the picture. Full briefing tapes will be dispatched in the next few hours. 
Everything I am about to teli you has the highest security classification. 

“Two years ago, we discovered the first evidence for intelligent life 
outside the Earth. A slab or monolith of hard, black material, ten feet high, was 
found buried in the crater Tycho. Here it is.” 

At his first glimpse of TMA-1, with the spacesuited figures clustering 
around it, Bowman leaned toward the screen in openmouthed astonishment. In 
the excitement of this revelation - something which, like every man interested in 
space, he had half expected all his life - he almost forgot his own desperate 
predicament. 

The sense of wonder was swiftly followed by another emotion. This was 
tremendous - but what had it to do with him? There could be only one answer. 
He brought his racing thoughts under control, as Heywood Floyd reappeared on 
the screen. 

"The most astonishing thing about this object is its antiquity. Geological 
evidence proves beyond doubt that it is three million years old. It was placed on 
the Moon, therefore, when our ancestors were primitive ape-men. 

"After all these ages, one would naturally assume that it was inert. But 
soon after lunar sunrise, it emitted an extremely powerful blast of radio energy. 
We believe that this energy was merely the by-product - the backwash, as it were 
- of some unknown form of radiation, for at the same time, several of our space 
probes detected an unusual disturbance Crossing the Solar System. We were able 
to track it with great accuracy. It was aimed precisely at Saturn. 

"Piecing things together after the event, we decided that the monolith was 
some kind of Sun-powered, or at least Sun-triggered, signaling device. The fact 
that it emitted its pulse immediately after sunrise, when it was exposed to 
daylight for the first time in three million years, could hardly be a coincidence. 



"Yet the thing had been deliberately buried - there's no doubt about that. 
An excavation thirty feet deep had been made, the block had been placed at the 
bottom of it, and the hole carefully filled. 

"You may wonder how we discovered it in the first place. Well, the object 
was easy - suspiciously easy - to find. It had a powerful magnetic field, so that it 
stood out like a sore thumb as soon as we started to conduct low-level orbital 
surveys. 


"But why bury a Sun-powered device thirty feet underground? We've 
examined dozens of theories, though we realize that it may be completely 
impossible to understand the motives of creatures three million years in advance 
of us. 


"The favorite theory is the simplest, and the most logical. It is also the 
most disturbing. 

"You hide a Sun-powered device in darkness - only if you want to know 
when it is brought out into the light. In other words, the monolith may be some 
kind of alarm. And we have triggered it. 

"Whether the civilization which set it up stili exists, we do not know. We 
must assume that creatures whose machines stili function after three million 
years may build a society equally long-lasting. And we must also assume, until 
we have evidence to the contrary, that they may be hostile. It has often been 
argued that any advanced culture must be benevolent, but we cannot take any 
chances. 

"Moreover, as the past history of our own world has shown so many times, 
primitive races have often failed to survive the encounter with higher 
civilizations. Anthropologists talk of 'cultural shock'; we may have to prepare the 
entire human race for such a shock. But until we know something about the 
creatures who visited the Moon - and presumably the Earth as well - three 
million years ago, we cannot even begin to make any preparations. 

"Your mission, therefore, is much more than a voyage of discovery. It is a 
scouting trip - a reconnaissance into unknown and potentially dangerous 
territory. The team under Dr. Kaminski had been specially trained for this work; 



now you will have to manage without them. 

"Finally - your specific target. It seems incredible that advanced forms of 
life can exist on Satum, or could ever have evolved on any of its moons. We had 
planned to survey the entire system, and we stili hope that you can carry out a 
simplified program. But now we may have to concentrate on the eighth satellite - 
Japetus. When the time comes for the terminal maneuver, we will decide 
whether you should rendezvous with this remarkable object. 

"Japetus is unique in the Solar System - you know this already, of course, 
but like all the astronomers of the last three hundred years, you've probably 
given it little thought. So let me remind you that Cassini - who discovered 
Japetus in 1671 - also observed that it was six times brighter on one side of its 
orbit than the other. 

"This is an extraordinary ratio, and there has never been a satisfactory 
explanation for it. Japetus is so small - about eight hundred miles in diameter - 
that even in the lunar telescopes its disk is barely visible. But there seems to be a 
brilliant, curiously symmetrical spot on one face, and this may be connected with 
TMA-1. I sometimes think that Japetus has been flashing at us like a cosmic 
heliograph for three hundred years, and we've been too stupid to understand its 
message. 


"So now you know your real objective, and can appreciate the vital 
importance of this mission. We are all praying that you can stili provide us with 
some facts for a preliminary announcement; the secret cannot be kept 
indefinitely. 

“At the moment, we do not know whether to hope or fear. We do not know 
if, out on the moons of Saturn, you will meet with good or with evil - or only 
with ruins a thousand times older than Troy.” 


V - THE MOONS OF SATURN 


31- Survival 



Work is the best remedy for any shock, and Bowman now had work 
enough for ali his lost crewmates. As swiftly as possible, starting with the vital 
systems without which he and the ship would die, he had to get Discovery fully 
operational again. 

Life support was the first priority. Much oxygen had been lost, but the 
reserves were stili ample to sustain a single man. The pressure and temperature 
regulation was largely automatic, and there had seldom been need for Hal to 
interfere with it. The monitors on Earth could now carry out many of the higher 
duties of the slain computer, despite the long time lag before they could react to 
changing situations. Any trouble in the life-support system - short of a serious 
puncture in the hull - would take hours to make itself apparent; there would be 
plenty of warning. 

The ship's power, navigation, and propulsion systems were unaffected - 
but the last two, in any event, Bowman would not need for months, until it was 
time to rendezvous with Saturn. Even at long range, without the help of an 
onboard computer, Earth could stili supervise this operation. The final orbit 
adjustments would be somewhat tedious, because of the constant need for 
checking, but this was no serious problem. 

By far the worst job had been emptying the spinning coffins in the 
centrifuge. It was well, Bowman thought thankfully, that the members of the 
survey team had been colleagues, but not intimate friends. They had trained 
together for only a few weeks; looking back on it, he now realized that even this 
had been largely a compatibility test. 

When he had finally sealed the empty hibernacula, he felt rather like an 
Egyptian tomb robber. Now Kaminski, Whitehead, and Hunter would all reach 
Saturn before him - but not before Frank Poole. Somehow, he derived a strange, 
wry satisfaction from this thought. 

He did not attempt to find if the rest of the hibernation system was stili in 
working order. Though his life might ultimately depend upon it, this was a 
problem that could wait until the ship had entered its final orbit. Many things 
might happen before then. 



It was even possible - though he had not yet looked into the supply 
position carefully - that by rigorous rationing he might remain alive, without 
resort to hibernation, until rescue came. But whether he could survive 
psychologically as well as physically was quite another matter. 

He tried to avoid thinking about such long-range problems, and to 
concentrate on immediate essentials. Slowly, he cleaned up the ship, checked 
that its systems were stili running smoothly, discussed technical difficulties with 
Earth, and operated on the minimum of sleep. Only at intervals, during the first 
weeks, was he able to give much thought to the great mystery toward which he 
was now inexorably racing - though it was never very far from his mind. 

At last, as the ship slowly settled down once more into an automatic 
routine - though one that stili demanded his constant supervision - Bowman had 
time to study the reports and briefings sent to him from Earth. Again and again 
he played back the recording made when TMA-1 greeted the dawn for the first 
time in three million years. He watched the spacesuited figures moving around 
it, and almost smiled at their ludicrous panic when it blasted its signal at the 
stars, paralyzing their radios with the sheer power of its electronic voice. 

Since that moment, the black slab had done nothing. It had been covered 
up, then cautiously exposed to the Sun again - without any reaction. No attempt 
had been made to cut into it, partly through scientific caution, but equally 
through fear of the possible consequences. 

The magnetic field that led to its discovery had vanished at the moment of 
that radio shriek. Perhaps, some experts theorized, it had been generated by a 
tremendous circulating current, flowing in a superconductor and thus carrying 
energy down the ages until it was needed. That the monolith had some internal 
source of power seemed certain; the solar energy it had absorbed during its brief 
exposure could not account for the strength of its signal. 

One curious, and perhaps quite unimportant, feature of the block had led 
to endless argument The monolith was 11 feet high, and 11/4 by 5 feet in cross- 
section. When its dimensions were checked with great care, they were found to 
be in the exact ratio 1 to 4 to 9 - the squares of the first three integers. No one 
could suggest any plausible explanation for this, but it could hardly be a 
coincidence, for the proportions held to the limits of measurable accuracy. It was 



a chastening thought that the entire technology of Earth could not shape even an 
inert block, of any material, with such a fantastic degree of precision. In its way, 
this passive yet almost arrogant display of geometrical perfection was as 
impressive as any of TMA-1's other attributes. 

Bowman also listened, with a curiously detached interest, to Mission 
Controfs belated apologia for its programming. The voices from Earth seemed to 
have a defensive note; be could imagine the recriminations that must now be in 
progress among those who had planned the expedition. 

They had some good arguments, of course - including the results of a 
secret Department of Defense study, Project BARSOOM, which had been 
carried out by Harvard's School of Psychology in 1989. In this experiment in 
controlled sociology, various sample populations had been assured that the 
human race had made contact with extraterrestrials. Many of the subjects tested 
were - with the help of drugs, hypnosis, and visual effects - under the impression 
that they had actually met creatures from other planets, so their reactions were 
regarded as authentic. 

Some of these reactions had been quite violent; there was, it seemed, a 
deep vein of xenophobia in many otherwise normal human beings. In view of 
mankind's record of lynchings, pogroms, and similar pleasantries, this should 
have surprised no one; nevertheless, the organizers of the study had been deeply 
disturbed, and the results had never been released. The five separate panics 
caused in the twentieth century by radio broadcasts of H.G. Wells's War of the 
Worlds also reinforced the study's conclusions. 

Despite these arguments, Bowman sometimes wondered if the cultural 
shock danger was the only explanation for the mission's extreme secrecy. Some 
hints that had been dropped during his briefings suggested that the U.S.-U.S.S.R. 
bloc hoped to derive advantage by being the first to contact intelligent 
extraterrestrials. 

From his present viewpoint, looking back on Earth as a dim star almost 
lost in the Sun, such considerations now seemed ludicrously parochial. 

He was rather more intere sted - even though this was now very much 
water under the bridge - in the theory put forward to account for Hal's behavior. 
No one would ever be sure of the truth, but the fact that one of the Mission 



Control 9000s had been driven into an identical psychosis, and was now under 
deep therapy, suggested that the explanation was the correct one. The same 
mistake would not be made again; and the fact that Hal's builders had failed fully 
to understand the psychology of their own creation showed how difficult it might 
be to establish communication with truly alien beings. 

Bowman could easily believe Dr. Simonson's theory that unconscious 
feelings of guilt, caused by his program conflicts, had made Hal attempt to break 
the Circuit with Earth. And he liked to think - though this again was something 
that could never be proved - that Hal had no intention of killing Poole. He had 
merely tried to destroy the evidence; for once the AE-35 unit reported as burned 
out was proved to be operational, his lie would be revealed. After that, like any 
clumsy criminal caught in a thickening web of deception, he had panicked. 

And panic was something that Bowman understood better than he had any 
wish to, for he had known it twice during his life. The first time was as a boy, 
when he bad been caught in a line of surf and nearly drowned; the second was as 
a spaceman under training, when a faulty gauge had convinced him that his 
oxygen would be exhausted before he could reach safety. 

On both occasions, he had almost lost control of all his higher logical 
processes; he had been within seconds of becoming a frenzied bundle of random 
impulses. Both times he had won through, but he knew well enough that any 
man, in the right circumstances, could be dehumanized by panic. 

If it could happen to a man, then it could happen to Hal; and with that 
knowledge the bitterness and the sense of betrayal he felt toward the computer 
began to fade. Now, in any event, it belonged to a past that was wholly 
overshadowed by the threat, and the promise, of the unknown future. 


32 - Concerning E.T.'s 


Apart from hasty meals back in the carrousel - luckily the main food 
dispensers had not been damaged - Bowman practically lived on the control 
deck. He catnapped in his seat, and so could spot any trouble as soon as the first 



signs of it appeared on the display. Under instructions from Mission Control, he 
had jury-rigged several emergency systems, which were working tolerably well. 
It even seemed possible that he would survive until the Discovery reached 
Satum - which, of course, she would do whether he was alive or not. 

Though he had little enough time for sightseeing, and the sky of space was 
no novelty to him, the knowledge of what now lay out there beyond the 
observation ports sometimes made it difficult for him to concentrate even on the 
problem of survival. Dead ahead, as the ship was now oriented, sprawled the 
Milky Way, with its clouds of stars so tightly packed that they numbed the mind. 
There were the fiery mists of Sagittarius, those seething swarms of suns that 
forever hid the heart of the galaxy from human vision. There was the ominous 
black shadow of the Coal Sack, that hole in space where no stars shone. And 
there was Alpha Centauri, nearest of ali alien suns - the first stop beyond the 
Solar System. 

Although outshone by Sirius and Canopus, it was Alpha Centauri that 
drew Bowman's eyes and mind whenever he looked out into space. For that 
unwavering point of brightness, whose rays had taken four years to reach him, 
had come to symbolize the secret debates that now raged on Earth, and whose 
echoes came to him from time to time. 

No one doubted that there must be some connection between TMA-1 and 
the Saturnian system, but hardly any scientists would admit that the creatures 
who had erected the monolith could possibly have originated there. As an abode 
of life, Saturn was even more hostile than Jupiter, and its many moons were 
frozen in an eternal winter three hundred degrees below zero. Only one of them - 
Titan - possessed an atmosphere; and that was a thin envelope of poisonous 
methane. 

So perhaps the creatures who had visited Earth's Moon so long ago were 
not merely extraterrestrial, but extrasolar - visitors from the stars, who had 
established their bases wherever it suited them. And this at once raised another 
problem: could any technology, no matter how advanced, bridge the awful gulf 
that lay between the Solar System and the nearest alien sun? 

Many scientists flatly denied the possibility. They pointed out that 
Discovery, the fastest ship ever designed, would take twenty thousand years to 
reach Alpha Centauri - and millions of years to travel any appreciable distance 



across the galaxy. Even if, during the centuries to come, propulsion systems 
improved out of all recognition, in the end they would meet the impassable 
barrier of the speed of light, which no material object could exceed. Therefore, 
the builders of TMA-1 must have shared the same sun as man; and since they 
had made no appearance in historic times, they were probably extinct. 

A vocal minority refused to agree. Even if it took centuries to travel from 
star to star, they contended, this might be no obstacle to sufficiently determined 
explorers. The technique of hibernation, used on Discovery herself, was one 
possible answer. Another was the self-contained artificial world, embarking on 
voyages that might last for many generations. 

In any event, why should one assume that all intelligent species were as 
short-lived as Man? There might be creatures in the universe to whom a 
thousand-year voyage would present nothing worse than slight boredom... 

These arguments, theoretical though they were, concerned a matter of the 
utmost practical importance; they involved the concept of “reaction time.” If 
TMA-1 had indeed sent a signal to the stars - perhaps with the help of some 
further device near Saturn - then it would not reach its destination for years. 
Even if the response was immediate, therefore, humanity would have a breathing 
space which could certainly be measured in decades - more probably in 
centuries. To many people, this was a reassuring thought. 

But not to all. A few scientists - most of them beachcombers on the wilder 
shores of theoretical physics - asked the disturbing question: “Are we certain that 
the speed of light is an unbreakable barrier?” It was true that the Special Theory 
of Relativity had proved to be remarkably durable, and would soon be 
approaching its first centenary; but it had begun to show a few cracks. And even 
if Einstein could not be defied, he might be evaded. 

Those who sponsored this view talked hopefully about shortcuts through 
higher dimensions, lines that were straighter than straight, and hyperspacial 
connectivity. They were fond of using an expressive phrase coined by a 
Princeton mathematician of the last century: “Wormholes in space.” Critics who 
suggested that these ideas were too fantastic to be taken seriously were reminded 
of Niels Bohr's “Your theory is crazy - but not crazy enough to be true.” 


If there was disputation among the physicists, it was nothing compared 



with that among the biologists, when they discussed the hoary old problem: 
“What would intelligent extraterrestrials look like?” They divided themselves 
into two opposing camps - one arguing that such creatures must be humanoid, 
the other equally convinced that “they” would look nothing like men. 

Settling for the first answer were those who believed that the design of 
two legs, two arms, and main sense organs at the highest point, was so basic and 
so sensible that it was hard to think of a better one. Of course, there would be 
minor differences like six fingers instead of five, oddly colored skin or hair, and 
peculiar facial arrangements; but most intelligent extraterrestrials - usually 
abbreviated to E.T.'s - would be so similar to Man that they might not be glanced 
at twice in poor lighting, or from a distance. 

This anthropomorphic thinking was ridiculed by another group of 
biologists, true products of the Space Age who felt themselves free from the 
prejudices of the past. They pointed out that the human body was the resuit of 
millions of evolutionary choices, made by chance over eons of time. At any one 
of these countless moments of decision, the genetic dice might have fallen 
differently, perhaps with better results. For the human body was a bizarre piece 
of improvisation, full of organs that had been diverted from one function to 
another, not always very successfully - and even containing discarded items, like 
the appendix, that were now worse than useless. 

There were other thinkers, Bowman also found, who held even more 
exotic views. They did not believe that really advanced beings would possess 
organic bodies at all. Sooner or later, as their scientific knowledge progressed, 
they would get rid of the fragile, disease-and-accident-prone homes that Nature 
had given them, and which doomed them to inevitable death. They would 
replace their natural bodies as they wore out - or perhaps even before that - by 
constructions of metal and plastic, and would thus achieve immortality. The 
brain might linger for a little while as the last remnant of the organic body, 
directing its mechanical limbs and observing the universe through its electronic 
senses - senses far finer and subtler than those that blind evolution could ever 
develop. 

Even on Earth, the first steps in this direction had been taken. There were 
millions of men, doomed in earlier ages, who now lived active and happy lives 
thanks to artificial limbs, kidneys, lungs, and hearts. To this process there could 
be only one conclusion - however far off it might be. 



And eventually even the brain might go. As the seat of consciousness, It 
was not essential; the development of electronic intelligence had proved that. 
The conflict between mind and machine might be resolved at last in the eternal 
truce of complete symbiosis. 

But was even this the end? A few mystically inclined biologists went stili 
further. They speculated, taking their cues from the beliefs of many religions, 
that mind would eventually free itself from matter. The robot body, like the 
flesh-and-blood one, would be no more than a stepping-stone to something 
which, long ago, men bad called “spirit.” 

And if there was anything beyond that, its name could only be God. 


33 - Ambassador 


During the last three months, David Bowman had adapted himself so 
completely to his solitary way of life that he found it hard to remember any other 
existence. He had passed beyond despair and beyond hope, and had settled down 
to a largely automatic routine, punctuated by occasional crises as one or other of 
Discovery's systems showed signs of malfunctioning. 

But he had not passed beyond curiosity, and sometimes the thought of the 
goal toward which he was driving filled him with a sense of exaltation - and a 
feeling of power. Not only was he the representative of the entire human race, 
but his actions during the next few weeks might determine its very future. In the 
whole of history, there had never been a situation quite like this. He was an 
Ambassador Extraordinary - Plenipotentiary - for all mankind. 

That knowledge helped him in many subtle ways. He kept himself neat 
and tidy; no matter how tired he became, he never skipped a shave. Mission 
Control, he knew, was watching him closely for the first signs of any abnormal 
behavior; he was determined that it should watch in vain - at least, for any 
serious symptoms. 



Bowman was aware of some changes in his behavior patterns; it would 
have been absurd to expect anything else in the circumstances. He could no 
longer tolerate silence; except when he was sleeping, or talking over the Circuit 
to Earth, he kept the ship's sound system running at almost painful loudness. 

At first, needing the companionship of the human voice, he had listened to 
classical plays - especially the works of Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare - or 
poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library of recorded sounds. The 
problems they dealt with, however, seemed so remote, or so easily resolved with 
a little common sense, that after a while he lost patience with them. 

So he switched to opera - usually in Italian or German, so that he was not 
distracted even by the minimal intellectual content that most operas contained. 
This phase lasted for two weeks before he realized that the sound of all these 
superbly trained voices was only exacerbating his loneliness. But what finally 
ended this cycle was Verdi's Requiem Mass, which he had never heard 
performed on Earth. The “Dies Irae,” roaring with ominous appropriateness 
through the empty ship, left him completely shattered; and when the trumpets of 
Doomsday echoed from the heavens, he could endure no more. 

Thereafter, he played only instrumental music. He started with the 
romantic composers, but shed them one by one as their emotional outpourings 
became too oppressive. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, lasted a few weeks, 
Beethoven rather longer. He finally found peace, as so many others had done, in 
the abstract architecture of Bach, occasionally ornamented with Mozart. 

And so Discovery drove on toward Saturn, as often as not pulsating with 
the cool music of the harpsichord, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been 
dust for twice a hundred years. 


Even from its present ten million miles, Saturn already appeared larger 
than the Moon as seen from Earth. To the naked eye it was a glorious spectacle; 
through the telescope, it was unbelievable. 

The body of the planet might have been mistaken for Jupiter in one of his 
quieter moods. There were the same bands of cloud - though paler and less 
distinet than on that slightly larger world - and the same continent-sized 



disturbances moving slowly across the atmosphere. However, there was one 
striking difference between the two planets; even at a glance, it was obvious that 
Satum was not spherical. It was so flattened at the poles that it sometimes gave 
the impression of slight deformity. 

But the glory of the rings continually drew Bowman's eye away from the 
planet; in their complexity of detail, and delicacy of shading, they were a 
universe in themselves. In addition to the great main gap between the inner and 
outer rings, there were at least fifty other subdivisions or boundaries, where there 
were distinet changes in the brightness of the planefs gigantic halo. It was as if 
Saturn was surrounded by scores of concentric hoops, all touching each other, all 
so flat that they might have been cut from the thinnest possible paper. The 
system of the rings looked like some delicate work of art, or a fragile toy to be 
admired but never touched. By no effort of the will could Bowman really 
appreciate its true scale, and convince himself that the whole planet Earth, if set 
down here, would look like a ball bearing rolling round the rim of a dinner piate. 

Sometimes a star would drift behind the rings, losing only a little of its 
brilliancy as it did so. It would continue to shine through their translucent 
material - though often it would twinkle slightly as some larger fragment of 
orbiting debris eclipsed it. 

For the rings, as had been known since the nineteenth century, were not 
solid: that was a mechanical impossibility. They consisted of countless myriads 
of fragments - perhaps the remains of a moon that had come too close and had 
been torn to pieces by the great planefs tidal pull. Whatever their origin, the 
human race was fortunate to have seen such a wonder; it could exist for only a 
brief moment of time in the history of the Solar System. 

As long ago as 1945, a British astronomer had pointed out that the rings 
were ephemeral; gravitational forces were at work which would soon destroy 
them. Taking this argument backward in time, it therefore followed that they had 
been created only recently - a mere two or three million years ago. 

But no one had e ver given the slightest thought to the curious coincidence 
that the rings of Saturn had been born at the same time as the human race. 



34 - The Orbiting Ice 


Discovery was now deep into the wide-ranging system of moons, and the 
great planet itself was less than a day ahead. The ship had long since passed the 
boundary set by outermost Phoebe, moving backward in a wildly eccentric orbit 
eight million miles from its primary. Ahead of it now lay Japetus, Hyperion, 
Titan, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, Mimas, Janus - and the rings themselves. 
All the satellites showed a maze of surface detail in the telescope, and Bowman 
had relayed back to Earth as many photographs as he could take. Titan alone - 
three thousand miles in diameter, and as large as the planet Mercury - would 
occupy a survey team for months; he could give it, and all its cold companions, 
only the briefest of glances. There was no need for more; already he was quite 
certain that Japetus was indeed his goal. 

All the other satellites were pitted by occasional meteor craters - though 
these were much fewer than on Mars - and showed apparently random patterns 
of light and shade, with here and there a few bright spots that were probably 
patches of frozen gas. Japetus alone possessed a distinctive geography, and a 
very strange one indeed. 

One hemisphere of the satellite, which, like its companions, turned the 
same face always toward Saturn, was extremely dark, and showed very little 
surface detail. In complete contrast, the other was dominated by a brilliant white 
oval, about four hundred miles long and two hundred wide. At the moment, only 
part of this striking formation was in daylight, but the reason for Japetus's 
extraordinary variations in brilliance was now quite obvious. On the Western side 
of the moon's orbit, the bright ellipse was presented toward the Sun - and the 
Earth. On the eastern phase, the patch was turned away, and only the poorly 
reflecting hemisphere could be observed. 

The great ellipse was perfectly symmetrical, straddling the equator of 
Japetus with its major axis pointing toward the poles; and it was so sharp-edged 
that it almost looked as if someone had carefully painted a huge white oval on 
the face of the little moon. It was completely flat, and Bowman wondered if it 
could be a lake of frozen liquid - though that would hardly account for its 
startlingly artificial appearance. 



But he had little time to study Japetus on his way into the heart of the 
Saturnian system, for the climax of the voyage - Discovery's last perturbation 
maneuver - was rapidly approaching. In the Jupiter fly-by, the ship had used the 
gravitational field of the planet to increase her velocity. Now she must do the 
reverse; she had to lose as much speed as possible, lest she escape from the Solar 
System and fly on to the stars. Her present course was one designed to trap her, 
so that she would become another moon of Saturn, shuttling back and forth 
along a narrow, two-million-mile-long ellipse. At its near point it would almost 
graze the planet; at its far one, it would touch the orbit of Japetus. 

The computers back on Earth, though their information was always three 
hours late, had assured Bowman that everything was in order. Velocity and 
altitude were correct; there was nothing more to be done, until the moment of 
closest approach. 

The immense system of rings now spanned the sky, and already the ship 
was passing over its outermost edge. As he looked down upon them from a 
height of some ten thousand miles, Bowman could see through the telescope that 
the rings were made largely of ice, glittering and scintillating in the light of the 
Sun. He might have been flying over a snowstorm that occasionally cleared to 
reveal, where the ground should have been, baffling glimpses of night and stars. 

As Discovery curved stili closer toward Saturn, the Sun slowly descended 
toward the multiple arches of the rings. Now they had become a slim, silver 
bridge spanning the entire sky; though they were too tenuous to do more than 
dim the sunlight, their myriads of crystals refracted and scattered it in dazzling 
pyrotechnics. And as the Sun moved behind the thousand-mile-wide drifts of 
orbiting ice, pale ghosts of itself marched and merged across the sky, and the 
heavens were filled with shifting flares and flashes. Then the Sun sank below the 
rings, so that they framed it with their arches, and the celestial fireworks ceased. 

A little later, the ship curved into the shadow of Saturn, as it made its 
closest approach over the night side of the planet. Above shone the stars and the 
rings; below lay a dimly visible sea of clouds. There were none of the 
mysterious patterns of luminosity that had glowed in the Jovian night; perhaps 
Saturn was too cold for such displays. The mottled cloudscape was revealed only 
by the ghostly radiance reflected back from the circling icebergs, stili 
illuminated by the hidden Sun. 



But in the center of the arch there was a wide, dark gap, like the missing 
span of an uncompleted bridge, where the shadow of the planet lay across its 
rings. 


Radio contact with Earth had been broken, and could not be resumed until 
the ship emerged from the eclipsing bulk of Saturn. It was perhaps as well that 
Bowman was too busy now to think of his suddenly enhanced loneliness; for the 
next few hours, every second would be occupied as he checked the braking 
maneuvers, already programmed by the computers on Earth. 

After their months of idleness, the main thrusters began to blast out their 
miles-long cataracts of glowing plasma. Gravity returned, though briefly, to the 
weightless world of the control deck. And hundreds of miles below, the clouds 
of methane and frozen ammonia blazed with a light that they had never known 
before, as Discovery swept, a fierce and tiny sun, through the Saturnian night. 

At last, the pale dawn lay ahead; the ship, moving more and more slowly 
now, was emerging into day. It could no longer escape from the Sun, or even 
from Saturn - but it was stili moving swiftly enough to rise away from the planet 
until it grazed the orbit of Japetus, two million miles out. 

It would take Discovery fourteen days to make that climb, as she coasted 
once more, though in reverse order, across the paths of all the inner moons. One 
by one she would cut through the orbits of Janus, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, 
Dione, Rhea, Titan, Hyperion - worlds bearing the names of gods and goddesses 
who had vanished only yesterday, as time was counted here. 

Then she would meet Japetus, and must make her rendezvous. If she 
failed, she would fall back toward Saturn and repeat her twenty-eight-day ellipse 
indefinitely. 

There would be no chance for a second rendezvous if Discovery missed on 
this attempt. The next time around, Japetus would be far away, almost on the 
other side of Saturn. 

It was true that they would meet again, when the orbits of ship and 
satellite meshed for a second time. But that appointment was so many years 
ahead that, whatever happened, Bowman knew he would not witness it. 



35 - The Eye of Japetus 


When Bowman had first observed Japetus, that curious elliptical patch, of 
brilliance had been partly in shadow, illuminated only by the light of Saturn. 
Now, as the Moon moved slowly along its seventy-nine-day orbit, it was 
emerging into the full light of day. 

As he watched it grow, and Discovery rose more and more sluggishly 
toward her inevitable appointment, Bowman became aware of a disturbing 
obsession. He never mentioned it in his conversations - or, rather, his running 
commentaries - with Mission Control, because it might have seemed that he was 
already suffering from delusions. 

Perhaps, indeed, he was; for he had half convinced himself that the bright 
ellipse set against the dark background of the satellite was a huge, empty eye, 
staring at him as he approached. It was an eye without a pupil, for nowhere 
could he see anything to mar its perfect blankness. 

Not until the ship was only fifty thousand miles out, and Japetus was twice 
as large as Earth's familiar Moon, did he notice the tiny black dot at the exact 
center of the ellipse. But there was no time, then, for any detailed examination; 
the terminal maneuvers were already upon him. 

For the last time, Discovery's main drive released its energies. For the last 
time, the incandescent fury of dying atoms blazed among the moons of Saturn. 
To David Bowman, the far-off whisper and rising thrust of the jets brought a 
sense of pride - and of sadness. The superb engines had done their duty with 
flawless efficiency. They had brought the ship from Earth to Jupiter to Saturn; 
now this was the very last time that they would ever operate. When Discovery 
had emptied her propellant tanks, she would be as helpless and inert as any 
comet or asteroid, a powerless prisoner of gravitation. Even when the rescue ship 
arrived a few years hence, it would not be an economical proposition to refuel 
her, so that she could fight her way back to Earth. She would be an eternally 
orbiting monument to the early days of planetary exploration. 



The thousands of miles shrank to hundreds, and as they did so, the fuel 
gauges dropped swiftly toward zero. At the control panel, Bowman's eyes 
flickered anxiously back and forth over the situation display, and the improvised 
charts which he now had to consuit for any real-time decisions. It would be an 
appalling anticlimax if, having survived so much, he failed to make rendezvous 
through lack of a few pounds of fuel. 

The whistle of the jets faded, as the main thrust died and only the verniers 
continued to nudge Discovery gently into orbit. Japetus was now a giant crescent 
that filled the sky; until this moment, Bowman had always thought of it as a tiny, 
insignificant object - as indeed it was compared with the world around which it 
circled. Now, as it loomed menacingly above him, it seemed enormous - a 
cosmic hammer poised to crush Discovery like a nutshell. 

Japetus was approaching so slowly that it scarcely seemed to move, and it 
was impossible to teli the exact moment when it made the subtle change from an 
astronomical body to a landscape, only fifty miles below. The faithful verniers 
gave their last spurts of thrust, then closed down forever. The ship was in its 
final orbit, completing one revolution every three hours at a mere eight hundred 
miles an hour - all the speed that was required in this feeble gravitational field. 


Discovery has become a satellite of a satellite. 


36 - Big Brother 


'Tm coming round to the daylight side again, and it's just as I reported on 
the last orbit. This place seems to have only two kinds of surface material. The 
black stuff looks burned, almost like charcoal, and with the same kind of texture 
as far as I can judge in the telescope. In fact, it reminds me very much of burned 
toast. 


"I stili can't make any sense of the white area. It starts at an absolutely 
sharp-edged boundary, and shows no surface detail at all. It could even be a 



liquid - it's flat enough. I don't know what impression you've got from the videos 
I've transmitted, but if you picture a sea of frozen milk you'll get the idea exactly. 

"It could even be some heavy gas - no, I suppose that's impossible. 
Sometimes I get the feeling that it's moving, very slowly: but I can never be sure. 

I'm over the white area again, on my third orbit. This time I hope to pass 
closer to that mark I spotted at its very center, when I was on my way in. 

If my calculations are correct, I should go within fifty miles of it - 
whatever it is. 

Yes, there's something ahead, just where I calculated. It's coming up over 
the horizon - and so is Saturn, in almost the same quarter of the sky - I'll move to 
the telescope... 

“Helio! It looks like some kind of building - complefely black - quite hard 
to see. No Windows or any other features. Just a big, vertical slab - it must be at 
least a mile high to be visible from this distance. It reminds me - of course! It's 
just like the thing you found on the Moon! This is TMA-1's big brother!” 


37 - Experiment 


Call it the Star Crate. 

For three million years, it had circled Saturn, waiting for a moment of 
destiny that might never come. In its making, a moon had been shattered, and the 
debris of its creation orbited stili. 

Now the long wait was ending. On yet another world, intelligence had 
been born and was escaping from its planetary cradle. An ancient experiment 
was about to reach its climax. 


Those who had begun that experiment, so long ago, had not been men - or 
even remotely human. But they were flesh and blood, and when they looked out 



across the deeps of space, they bad felt awe, and wonder, and loneliness. As soon 
as they possessed the power, they set forth for the stars. 


In their explorations, they encountered life in many forms, and watched 
the workings of evolution on a thousand worlds. They saw how often the first 
faint sparks of intelligence flickered and died in the cosmic night. 

And because, in all the galaxy, they had found nothing more precious than 
Mind, they encouraged its dawning everywhere. They became farmers in the 
fields of stars; they sowed, and sometimes they reaped. 

And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed. 

The great dinosaurs had long since perished when the survey ship entered 
the Solar System after a voyage that had already lasted a thousand years. It 
swept past the frozen outer planets, paused briefly above the deserts of dying 
Mars, and presently looked down on Earth. 

Spread out beneath them, the explorers saw a world swarming with life. 
For years they studied, collected, catalogued. When they had learned all that 
they could, they began to modify. They tinkered with the destiny of many 
species, on land and in the ocean. But which of their experiments would succeed 
they could not know for at least a million years. 

They were patient, but they were not yet immortal. There was so much to 
do in this universe of a hundred billion suns, and other worlds were calling. So 
they set out once more into the abyss, knowing that they would never come this 
way again. 

Nor was there any need. The servants they had left behind would do the 

rest. 


On Earth, the glaciers came and went, while above them the changeless 
Moon stili carried its secret. With a yet slower rhythm than the polar ice, the 
tides of civilization ebbed and flowed across the galaxy. Strange and beautiful 
and terrible empires rose and feli, and passed on their knowledge to their 
successors. Earth was not forgotten, but another visit would serve little purpose. 
It was one of a million silent worlds, few of which would ever speak. 



And now, out among the stars, evolution was driving toward new goals. 
The first explorers of Earth had long since come to the limits of flesh and blood; 
as soon as their machines were better than their bodies, it was time to move. 
First their brains, and then their thoughts alone, they transferred into shining new 
homes of metal and of plastic. 

In these, they roamed among the stars. They no longer built spaceships. 
They were spaceships. 

But the age of the Machine-entities swiftly passed. In their ceaseless 
experimenting, they had learned to store knowledge in the structure of space 
itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They 
could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter. 

Into pure energy, therefore, they presently transformed themselves; and on 
a thousand worlds, the empty shells they had discarded twitched for a while in a 
mindless dance of death, then crumbled into msty 

Now they were lords of the galaxy, and beyond the reach of time. They 
could rove at will among the stars, and sink like a subtle mist through the very 
interstices of space. But despite their godlike powers, they had not wholly 
forgotten their origin, in the warm slime of a vanished sea. 

And they stili watched over the experiments their ancestors had started, so 
long ago. 


38 - The Sentinel 


"The air in the ship is getting quite foul, and I have a headache most of the 
time. There's stili plenty of oxygen, but the purifiers never really cleaned up all 
the messes after the liquids aboard started boiling into vacuum. When things get 
too bad, I go down into the garage and bleed off some pure oxygen from the 
pods. 


"There's been no reaction to any of my signals, and because of my orbital 



inclination, I'm getting slowly farther and farther away from TMA-2. 
Incidentally, the name you've given it is doubly inappropriate - there's stili no 
trace of a magnetic field. 

"At the moment my closest approach is sixty miles; it will increase to 
about a hundred as Japetus rotates beneath me, then drop back to zero. I'll pass 
directly over the thing in thirty days - but that's too long to wait, and then it will 
be in darkness, anyway. 

"Even now, it's only in sight for a few minutes before it falis below the 
horizon again. It's damn frustrating -1 can't make any serious observations. 

"So I'd like your approval of this plan. The space pods have ample delta 
vee for a touchdown and a return to the ship. I want to go extravehicular and 
make a close survey of the object. If it appears safe, IT1 land beside it - or even 
on top of it. 

"The ship will stili be above my horizon while I'm going down, so I won't 
be out of touch for more than ninety minutes. 

Tm convinced that this is the only thing to do. I've come a billion miles -1 
don't want to be stopped by the last sixty." 


For weeks, as it stared forever Sunward with its strange senses, the Star 
Gate had watched the approaching ship. Its makers had prepared it for many 
things, and this was one of them. It recognized what was climbing up toward it 
from the warm heart of the Solar System. 

If it had been alive, it would have felt excitement, but such an emotion 
was wholly beyond its powers. Even if the ship had passed it by, it would not 
have known the slightest trace of disappointment. It had waited three million 
years; it was prepared to wait for eternity. 

It observed, and noted, and took no action, as the visitor checked its speed 
with jets of incandescent gas. Presently it felt the gentle touch of radiations, 
trying to probe its secrets. And stili it did nothing. 



Now the ship was in orbit, circling low above the surface of this strangely 
piebald moon. It began to speak, with blasts of radio waves, counting out the 
prime numbers from 1 to 11, over and over again. Soon these gave way to more 
complex signals, at many frequencies-ultraviolet, infrared, X rays. The Star Gate 
made no reply; it had nothing to say. 

There was a long pause, then, before it observed that something was 
falling down toward it from the orbiting ship. It searched its memories, and the 
logic circuits made their decisions, according to the orders given them long ago. 

Beneath the cold light of Saturn, the Star Gate awakened its slumbering 
powers. 


39 - Into the Eye 


Discovery looked just as he had last seen her from space, floating in lunar 
orbit with the Moon taking up half the sky. Perhaps there was one slight change; 
be could not be sure, but some of the paint of her external lettering, announcing 
the purpose of various hatches, connections, umbilical plugs, and other 
attachment, had faded during its long exposure to the unshielded Sun. 

That Sun was now an object that no man would have recognized. It was 
far too bright to be a star, but one could look directly at its tiny disk without 
discomfort. It gave no heat at ali; when Bowman held his ungloved hands in its 
rays, as they streamed through the space pod's window, he could feel nothing 
upon his skin. He might have been trying to warm himself by the light of the 
Moon; not even the alien landscape fifty miles below reminded him more vividly 
of his remoteness from Earth. 

Now he was leaving, perhaps for the last time, the metal world that had 
been his horne for so many months. Even if he never returned, the ship would 
continue to perform its duty, broadcasting instrument readings back to Earth 
until there was some final, catastrophic failure in its circuits. 


And if he did return? Well, he could keep alive, and perhaps even sane, for 



a few more months. But that was ali, for the hibernation systems were useless 
with no computer to monitor them. He could not possibly survive until 
Discovery II made its rendezvous with Japetus, four or five years hence. 

He put these thoughts behind him, as the golden crescent of Saturn rose in 
the sky ahead. In all history, he was the only man to have seen this sight. To all 
other eyes, Saturn had always shown its whole illuminated disk turned full 
toward the Sun. Now it was a delicate bow, with the rings forming a thin line 
across it - like an arrow about to be loosed, into the face of the Sun itself. 

Also in the line of the rings was the bright star of Titan, and the fainter 
sparks of the other moons. Before this century was half gone, men would have 
visited them all; but whatever secrets they might hold, he would never know. 

The sharp-edged boundary of the blind white eye was sweeping toward 
him; there was only a hundred miles to go, and he would be over his target in 
less than ten minutes. He wished that there was some way of telling if his words 
were reaching Earth, now an hour and a half away at the speed of light. It would 
be the ultimate irony if, through some breakdown in the relay system, he 
disappeared into silence, and no one ever knew what had happened to him. 

Discovery was stili a brilliant star in the black sky far above. He was 
pulling ahead as he gained speed during his descent, but soon the pod's braking 
jets would slow him down and the ship would sail on out of sight - leaving him 
alone on this shining plain with the dark mystery at its center. 

A block of ebony was climbing above the horizon, eclipsing the stars 
ahead. He rolled the pod around its gyros, and used full thrust to break his orbital 
speed. In a long, flat arc, he descended toward the surface of Japetus. 

On a world of higher gravity, the maneuver would have been far too 
extravagant of fuel. But here the space pod weighed only a score of pounds; he 
had several minutes of hovering time before he would cut dangerously into his 
reserve and be stranded without any hope of return to the stili orbiting 
Discovery. Not, perhaps, that it made much difference... 

His altitude was stili about five miles, and he was heading straight toward 
the huge, dark mass that soared in such geometrical perfection above the 
featureless plain. It was as blank as the flat white surface beneath; until now, he 



had not appreciated how enormous it really was. There were very few single 
buildings on Earth as large as this; his carefully measured photographs indicated 
a height of almost two thousand feet. And as far as could be judged, its 
proportions were precisely the same as TMA-1's - that curious ratio 1 to 4 to 9. 

'Tm only three miles away now, holding altitude at four thousand feet. 
Stili not a sign of activity - nothing on any of the instruments. The faces seem 
absolutely smooth and polished. Surely you'd expect some meteorite damage 
after all this time! 

"And there's no debris on the -1 suppose one could call it the roof. No sign 
of any opening, either. I'd been hoping there might be some way in. 

"Now I'm right above it, hovering five hundred feet up. I don't want to 
waste any time, since Discovery will soon be out of range. I'm going to land. It's 
certainly solid enough - and if it isn't I'll blast off at once. 

“Just a minute - that's odd 

Bowman's voice died into the silence of utter bewilderment. He was not 
alarmed; he literally could not describe what he was seeing. 

He had been hanging above a large, flat rectangle, eight hundred feet long 
and two hundred wide, made of something that looked as solid as rock. But now 
it seemed to be receding from him; it was exactly like one of those optical 
illusions, when a three-dimensional object can, by an effort of will, appear to 
turn inside out - its near and far sides suddenly interchanging. 

That was happening to this huge, apparently solid structure. Impossibly, 
incredibly, it was no longer a monolith rearing high above a flat plain. What had 
seemed to be its roof had dropped away to infinite depths; for one dizzy 
moment, he seemed to be looking down into a vertical shaft - a rectangular duct 
which defied the laws of perspective, for its size did not decrease with distance... 


The Eye of Japetus had blinked, as if to remove an irritating speck of dust. 
David Bowman had time for just one broken sentence which the waiting men in 
Mission Control, nine hundred million miles away and eighty minutes in the 



future, were never to forget: 

“The thing's hollow - it goes on forever - and - oh my God! - it's full of 

stars!” 


40 - Exit 


The Star Gate opened. The Star Gate closed. 

In a moment of time too short to be measured, Space turned and twisted 
upon itself. 

Then Japetus was alone once more, as it had been for three million years - 
alone, except for a deserted but not yet derelict ship, sending back to its makers 
messages which they could neither believe nor understand. 


VI - THROUGH THE STARGATE 
41 - Grand Central 


There was no sense of motion, but he was falling toward those impossible 
stars, shining there in the dark heart of a moon. No - that was not where they 
really were, he felt certain. He wished, now that it was far too late, that he had 
paid more attention to those theories of hyperspace, of transdimensional ducts. 
To David Bowman, they were theories no longer. 

Perhaps that monolith on Japetus was hollow; perhaps the “roof” was only 
an illusion, or some kind of diaphragm that had opened to let him through. (But 
into what?) As far as he could trust his senses, he appeared to be dropping 
vertically down a huge rectangular shaft, several thousand feet deep. He was 
moving faster and faster - but the far end never changed its size, and remained 



always at the same distance from him. 


Only the stars moved, at first so slowly that it was some time before he 
realized that they were escaping out of the frame that held them. But in a little 
while it was obvious that the star field was expanding, as if it was rushing 
toward him at an inconceivable speed. 

The expansion was nonlinear; the stars at the center hardly seemed to 
move, while those toward the edge accelerated more and more swiftly, until they 
became streaks of light just before they vanished from view. 

There were always others to replace them, flowing into the center of the 
field from an apparently inexhaustible source. Bowman wondered what would 
happen if a star came straight toward him; would it continue to expand until he 
plunged directly into the face of a sun? But not one came near enough to show a 
disk; eventually they all veered aside, and streaked over the edge of their 
rectangular frame. 

And stili the far end of the shaft came no closer. It was almost as if the 
walls were moving with him, carrying him to his unknown destination. Or 
perhaps he was really motionless, and space was moving past him... 

Not only space, he suddenly realized, was involved in whatever was 
happening to him now. The clock on the pod's small instrument panel was also 
behaving strangely. 

Normally, the numbers in the tenths-of-a-second window flickered past so 
quickly that it was almost impossible to read them; now they were appearing and 
disappearing at discrete intervals, and he could count them off one by one 
without difficulty. The seconds themselves were passing with incredible 
slowness, as if time itself were coming to a stop. At last, the tenth-of-a-second 
counter froze between 5 and 6. 

Yet he could stili think, and even observe, as the ebon walls flowed past at 
a speed that might have been anything between zero and a million times the 
velocity of light. Somehow, he was not in the least surprised, nor was he 
alarmed. On the contrary, he felt a sense of calm expectation, such as he had 
once known when the space medies had tested him with hallueinogenie drugs. 
The world around him was strange and wonderful, but there was nothing to fear. 



He had traveled these millions of miles in search of mystery; and now, it seemed, 
the mystery was coming to him. 

The rectangle ahead was growing lighter. The hominous star streaks were 
paling against a milky sky, whose brilliance increased moment by moment. It 
seemed as if the space pod was heading toward a bank of cloud, uniformly 
Illuminated by the rays of an invisible sun. 

He was emerging from the tunnel. The far end, which until now had 
remained at that same indeterminate distance, neither approaching nor receding, 
had suddenly started to obey the normal laws of perspective. It was coming 
closer, and steadily widening before him. At the same time, he felt that he was 
moving upward, and for a fleeting instant he wondered if he had fallen right 
through Japetus and was now ascending from the other side. But even before the 
space pod soared out into the open he knew that this place had nothing to do 
with Japetus, or with any world within the experience of man. 

There was no atmosphere, for he could see all details unblurred, ciear 
down to an incredibly remote and flat horizon. He must be above a world of 
enormous size - perhaps one much larger than Earth. Yet despite its extent, all 
the surface that Bowman could see was tessellated into obviously artificial 
patterns that must have been miles on a side. It was like the jigsaw puzzle of a 
giant that played with planets; and at the centers of many of those squares and 
triangles and polygons were gaping black shafts - twins of the chasm from which 
he had just emerged. 

Yet the sky above was stranger - and, in its way, more disturbing - than 
even the improbable land beneath. For there were no stars; neither was there the 
blackness of space. There was only a softly glowing milkiness, that gave the 
impression of infinite distance. Bowman remembered a description he had once 
heard of the dreaded Antarctic “whiteout” - “like being inside a ping-pong ball.” 
Those words could be applied perfectly to this weird place, but the explanation 
must be utterly different. This sky could be no meteorological effect of mist and 
snow; there was a perfect vacuum here. 

Then, as Bowman's eyes grew accustomed to the nacreous glow that filled 
the heavens, he became aware of another detail. The sky was not, as he had 
thought at first glance, completely empty. Dotted overhead, quite motionless and 
forming apparently random patterns, were myriads of tiny black specks. 



They were difficult to see, for they were mere points of darkness, but once 
detected they were quite unmistakable. They reminded Bowman of something - 
something so familiar, yet so insane, that he refused to accept the parallel, until 
logic forced it upon him. 

Those black holes in the white sky were stars; he might have been looking 
at a photographic negative of the Milky Way. 

Where in God's name am I? Bowman asked himself; and even as he posed 
the question, he felt certain that he could never know the answer. It seemed that 
space had been turned inside out: this was not a place for man. Though the 
capsule was comfortably warm, he felt suddenly cold, and was afflicted by an 
almost uncontrollable trembling. He wanted to close his eyes, and shut out the 
pearly nothingness that surrounded him; but that was the act of a coward, and he 
would not yield to it. 

The pierced and faceted planet slowly rolled beneath him, without any real 
change of scenery. He guessed that he was about ten miles above the surface, 
and should be able to see any signs of life with ease. 

But this whole world was deserted; intelligence had come here, worked its 
will upon it, and gone its way again. Then he noticed, bumped above the flat 
plain perhaps twenty miles away, a roughly cylindrical pile of debris that could 
only be the carcass of a gigantic ship. It was too distant for him to see any 
details, and it passed out of sight within a few seconds, but he could make out 
broken ribs and dully gleaming sheets of metal that had been partly peeled off 
like the skin of an orange. He wondered how many thousands of years the wreck 
had lain here on this deserted checkerboard - and what manner of creatures had 
sailed it between the stars. 

Then he forgot the derelict, for something was coming up over the 

horizon. 

At first it looked like a flat disk, but that was because it was heading 
almost directly toward him. As it approached and passed beneath, he saw that it 
was spindle-shaped, and several hundred feet long. Though there were faintly 
visible bands here and there along its length, it was hard to focus upon them; the 
object appeared to be vibrating, or perhaps spinning, at a very rapid rate. 



It tapered to a point at either end, and there was no sign of propulsion. 
Only one thing about it was familiar to human eyes, and that was its color. If it 
was indeed a solid artifact, and not an optical phantom, then its makers perhaps 
shared some of the emotions of men. 

But they certainly did not share their limitations, for the spindle appeared 
to be made of gold. 

Bowman moved his head to the rear-view system to watch the thing drop 
behind. It had ignored him completely, and now he saw that it was falling out of 
the sky down toward one of those thousands of great slots. A few seconds later it 
disappeared in a final flash of gold as it dived into the planet. He was alone 
again, beneath that sinister sky, and the sense of isolation and remoteness was 
more overwhelming than ever. 

Then he saw that he also was sinking down toward the mottled surface of 
the giant world, and that another of the rectangular chasms yawned immediately 
below. The empty sky closed above him, the clock crawled to rest, and once 
again his pod was falling between infinite ebon walls, toward another distant 
patch of stars. But now he was sure that he was not returning to the Solar 
System, and in a flash of insight that might have been wholly spurious, he knew 
what this thing must surely be. 

It was some kind of cosmic switching device, routing the traffic of the 
stars through unimaginable dimensions of space and time. He was passing 
through a Grand Central Station of the galaxy. 


42 - The Alien Sky 


Far ahead, the walls of the slot were becoming dimly visible once more, in 
the faint light diffusing downward from some stili hidden source. And then the 
darkness was abruptly whipped away, as the tiny space pod hurtled upward into 
a sky ablaze with stars. 



He was back in space as he knew it, but a single glance told him that he 
was light-centuries from Earth. 

He did not even attempt to find any of the familiar constellations that since 
the beginning of history had been the friends of man; perhaps none of the stars 
that now blazed around him had ever been seen by the unaided human eye. 

Most of them were concentrated in a glowing belt, broken here and there 
with dark bands of obscuring cosmic dust, which completely circled the sky. It 
was like the Milky Way, but scores of times brighter; Bowman wondered if this 
was indeed his own galaxy, seen from a point much closer to its brilliant, 
crowded center. 

He hoped that it was; then he would not be so far from horne. But this, he 
realized at once, was a childish thought. He was so inconceivably remote from 
the Solar System that it made little difference whether he was in his own galaxy 
or the most distant one that any telescope had ever glimpsed. 

He looked back to see the thing from which he was rising, and had another 
shock. Here was no giant, multifaceted world, nor any duplicate of Japetus. 
There was nothing - except an inky shadow against the stars, like a doorway 
opening from a darkened room into a stili darker night. Even as he watched, that 
doorway closed. 

It did not recede from him; it slowly filled with stars, as if a rent in the 
fabric of space had been repaired. Then he was alone beneath the alien sky. 

The space pod was slowly turning, and as it did so it brought fresh 
wonders into view. First there was a perfectly spherical swarm of stars, 
becoming more and more closely packed toward the center until its heart was a 
continuous glow of light. Its outer edges were ill-defined - a slowly thinning halo 
of suns that merged imperceptibly into the background of more distant stars. 

This glorious apparition, Bowman knew, was a globular cluster. He was 
looking upon something that no human eye had ever seen, save as a smudge of 
light in the field of a telescope. He could not remember the distance to the 
nearest known cluster, but he was sure that there were none within a thousand 
light-years of the Solar System. 



The pod continued its slow rotation, to disclose an even stranger sight - a 
huge red sun, many times larger than the Moon as seen from Earth. Bowman 
could look straight into its face without discomfort; judging by its color, it was 
no hotter than a glowing coal. Here and there, set into the somber red, were 
rivers of bright yellow - incandescent Amazons, meandering for thousands of 
miles before they lost themselves in the deserts of this dying sun. 

Dying? No - that was a wholly false impression, born of human 
experience and the emotions aroused by the hues of sunset, or the glow of fading 
embers. This was a star that had left behind the fiery extravagances of its youth, 
had raced through the violets and blues and greens of the spectrum in a few 
fleeting billions of years, and now had settled down to a peaceful maturity of 
unimaginable length. All that had gone before was not a thousandth of what was 
yet to come; the story of this star had barely begun. 

The pod had ceased to roll; the great red sun lay straight ahead. Though 
there was no sense of motion, Bowman knew that he was stili gripped by 
whatever controlling force had brought him here from Saturn. 

All the Science and engineering skill of Earth seemed hopelessly primitive 
now, against the powers that were carrying him to some unimaginable fate. 

He stared into the sky ahead, trying to pick out the goal toward which be 
was being taken - perhaps some planet circling this great sun. But there was 
nothing that showed any visible disk or exceptional brightness; if there were 
planets orbiting here he could not distinguish them from the stellar background. 

Then he noticed that something strange was happening on the very edge of 
the sun's crimson disk. A white glow had appeared there, and was rapidly 
waxing in brilliance; he wondered if he was seeing one of those sudden 
eruptions, or flares, that trouble most stars from time to time. 

The light became brighter and bluer; it began to spread along the edge of 
the sun, whose blood-red hues paled swiftly by comparison. It was almost, 
Bowman told himself, smiling at the absurdity of the thought, as if be were 
watching sunrise - on a sun. 

And so indeed he was. Above the burning horizon lifted something no 
larger than a star, but so brilliant that the eye could not bear to look upon it. A 



mere point of blue-white radiance, like an electric arc, was moving at 
unbelievable speed across the face of the great sun. It must be very close to its 
giant companion; for immediately below it, drawn upward by its gravitational 
pull, was a column of flame thousands of miles high. It was as if a tidal wave of 
fire was marching forever along the equator of this star, in vain pursuit of the 
searing apparition in its sky. 

That pinpoint of incandescence must be a White Dwarf - one of those 
strange, fierce little stars, no larger than the Earth, yet containing a million times 
its mass. Such ill-matched stellar couples were not uncommon; but Bowman had 
never dreamed that one day he would see such a pair with his own eyes. 

The White Dwarf had transited almost half the disk of its companion - it 
must take only minutes to make a complete orbit - when Bowman was at last 
certain that he too was moving. Ahead of him, one of the stars was becoming 
rapidly brighter, and was beginning to drift against its background. It must be 
some small, close body - perhaps the world toward which he was traveling. 

It was upon him with unexpected speed; and he saw that it was not a world 

at ali. 


A dully gleaming cobweb or latticework of metal, hundreds of miles in 
extent, grew out of nowhere until it filled the sky. Scattered across its continent- 
wide surface were structures that must have been as large as cities, but which 
appeared to be machines. Around many of these were assembled scores of 
smaller objects, ranged in neat rows and columns. Bowman had passed several 
such groups before he realized that they were fleets of spaceships; he was flying 
over a gigantic orbital parking lot. 

Because there were no familiar objects by which he could judge the scale 
of the scene flashing by below, it was almost impossible to estimate the size of 
the vessels hanging there in space. But they were certainly enormous; some must 
have been miles in length. They were of many different designs - spheres, 
faceted crystals, slim pencils, ovoids, disks. This must be one of the meeting 
places for the commerce of the stars. 

Or it had been - perhaps a million years ago. For nowhere could Bowman 
see any sign of activity; this sprawling spaceport was as dead as the Moon. 



He knew it not only by the absence of all movement, but by such 
unmistakable signs as great gaps torn in the metal cobweb by the wasplike 
blunderings of asteroids that must have smashed through it, eons ago. This was 
no longer a parking lot: it was a cosmic junk heap. 

He had missed its builders by ages, and with that realization Bowman felt 
a sudden sinking of his heart. Though he had not known what to expect, at least 
he had hoped to meet some intelligence from the stars. 

Now, it seemed, he was too late. He had been caught in an ancient, 
automatic trap, set for some unknown purpose, and stili operating when its 
makers had long since passed away. It had swept him across the galaxy, and 
dumped him (with how many others?) in this celestial Sargasso, doomed soon to 
die when his air was exhausted. 

Well, it was unreasonable to expect more. Already he had seen wonders 
for which many men would have sacrificed their lives. He thought of his dead 
companions; he had no cause for complaint. 

Then he saw that the derelict spaceport was stili sliding past him with 
undiminished speed. He was sweeping over its outlying suburbs; its ragged edge 
went by, and no longer partially eclipsed the stars. In a few more minutes, it had 
fallen behind. 

His fate did not lie here - but far ahead, in the huge, crimson sun toward 
which the space pod was now unmistakably falling. 


43 - Inferno 


Now there was only the red sun, filling the sky from side to side. He was 
so close that its surface was no longer frozen into immobility by sheer scale. 
There were luminous nodule s moving to and fro, cyclones of ascending and 
descending gas, prominences slowly rocketing toward the heavens. Slowly? 
They must be rising at a million miles an hour for their movement to be visible 
to his eye. 



He did not even attempt to grasp the scale of the inferno toward which he 
was descending. The immensities of Saturn and Jupiter bad defeated him, during 
Discovery's fly-by in that solar system now unknown gigamiles away. But 
everything he saw here was a hundred times larger stili; he could do nothing but 
accept the images that were flooding into his mind, without attempting to 
interpret them. 

As that sea of fire expanded beneath him, Bowman should have known 
fear - but, curiously enough, he now felt only a mild apprehension. It was not 
that his mind was benumbed with wonders; logic told him that he must surely be 
under the protection of some controlling and almost omnipotent intelligence. He 
was now so close to the red sun that he would have been burned up in a moment 
if its radiation had not been held at bay by some invisible screen. And during his 
voyage he had been subjected to accelerations that should have crushed him 
instantly - yet he had felt nothing. If so much trouble had been taken to preserve 
him, there was stili cause for hope. 

The space pod was now moving along a shallow arc almost parallel to the 
surface of the star, but slowly descending toward it. And now, for the first time, 
Bowman became aware of sounds. There was a faint, continuous roar, broken 
from time to time by crackles like tearing paper, or distant lightning. This could 
be only the feeblest echo of an unimaginable cacophony; the atmosphere 
surrounding him must be racked by concussions that could tear any material 
object to atoms. Yet he was protected from this shattering tumuit as effectively 
as from the heat. 

Though ridges of flame thousands of miles high were rising and slowly 
collapsing around him, he was completely insulated from all this violence. The 
energies of the star raved past him, as if they were in another universe; the pod 
moved sedately through their midst, un-buffeted and unscorched. 

Bowman's eyes, no longer hopelessly confused by the strangeness and 
grandeur of the scene, began to pick out details which must have been there 
before, but which he had not yet perceived. The surface of this star was no 
formless chaos; there was pattern here, as in everything that nature created. 

He noticed first the little whirlpools of gas - probably no larger than Asia 
or Africa - that wandered over the surface of the star. Sometimes he could look 



directly down into one of them, to see darker, cooler regions far below. 
Curiously enough, there appeared to be no sunspots; perhaps they were a disease 
peculiar to the star that shone on Earth. 

And there were occasional clouds, like wisps of smoke blown before a 
gale. Perhaps they were indeed smoke, for this sun was so cold that real fire 
could exist here. Chemical compounds could be born and could live for a few 
seconds before they were again ripped apart by the fiercer nuclear violence that 
surrounded them. 

The horizon was growing brighter, its color changing from gloomy red to 
yellow to blue to blistering violet. 

The White Dwarf was coming up over the horizon, dragging its tidal wave 
of star-stuff behind it. 

Bowman shielded his eyes from the intolerable glare of the little sun, and 
focused on the troubled starscape which its gravitational field was sucking 
skyward. Once he had seen a waterspout moving across the face of the 
Caribbean; this tower of flame had almost the same shape. Only the scale was 
slightly different, for at its base, the column was probably wider than the planet 
Earth. 


And then, immediately beneath him, Bowman noticed something which 
was surely new, since he could hardly have overlooked it if it had been there 
before. Moving across the ocean of glowing gas were myriads of bright beads; 
they shone with a pearly light which waxed and waned in a period of a few 
seconds. And they were all traveling in the same direction, like salmon moving 
upstream; sometimes they weaved back and forth so that their paths intertwined, 
but they never touched. 

There were thousands of them, and the longer Bowman stared, the more 
convinced he became that their motion was purposeful. They were too far away 
for him to make out any details of their structure; that be could see them at all in 
this colossal panorama meant that they must be scores - perhaps hundreds - of 
miles across. If they were organized entities, they were leviathans indeed, built 
to match the scale of the world they inhabited. 


Perhaps they were only clouds of plasma, given temporary stability by 



some odd combination of natural forces - like the short-lived spheres of ball- 
lightning that stili puzzled terrestrial scientists. That was an easy, and perhaps 
soothing, explanation; but as Bowman looked down upon that star-wide 
streaming, he could not really believe it. Those glittering nodes of light knew 
where they were going; they were deliberately converging upon the pillar of fire 
raised by the White Dwarf as it orbited overhead. 

Bowman stared once more at that ascending column, now marching along 
the horizon beneath the tiny, massive star that ruled it. Could it be pure 
imagination - or were there patches of brighter luminosity creeping up that great 
geyser of gas, as if myriads of shining sparks had combined into whole 
continents of phosphorescence? 

The idea was almost beyond fantasy, but perhaps he was watching nothing 
less than a migration from star to star, across a bridge of fire. Whether it was a 
movement of mindless, cosmic beasts driven across space by some lemming-like 
urge, or a vast concourse of intelligent entities, he would probably never know. 

He was moving through a new order of creation, of which few men had 
ever dreamed. Beyond the realms of sea and land and air and space lay the 
realms of fire, which he alone had been privileged to glimpse. It was too much to 
expect that he would also understand. 


44 - Reception 


The pillar of fire was marching over the edge of the sun, like a storm 
passing beyond the horizon. The scurrying flecks of light no longer moved 
across the redly glowing starscape stili thousands of miles below. Inside his 
space pod, protected from an environment that could annihilate him within a 
millisecond, David Bowman awaited whatever had been prepared. 

The White Dwarf was sinking fast as it hurtled along its orbit; presently it 
touched the horizon, set it aflame, and disappeared. A false twilight feli upon the 
inferno beneath, and in the sudden change of illumination Bowman became 
aware that something was happening in the space around him. 



The world of the red sun seemed to ripple, as if he were looking at it 
through running water. For a moment he wondered if this was some refractive 
effect, perhaps caused by the passage of an tinusually violent shock wave 
through the tortured atmosphere in which he was immersed. 

The light was fading; it seemed that a second twilight was about to fall. 
Involuntarily, Bowman looked upward, then checked himself sheepishly, as he 
remembered that here the main source of light was not the sky, but the blazing 
world below. 

It seemed as if walls of some material like smoked glass were thickening 
around him, cutting out the red glow and obscuring the view. It became darker 
and darker; the faint roar of the stellar hurricanes also faded out. The space pod 
was floating in silence, and in night. 

A moment later, there was the softest of bumps as it settled on some hard 
surface, and came to rest. 

To rest on what? Bowman asked himself incredulously. Then light 
returned; and incredulity gave way to a heart-sinking despair - for as he saw 
what lay around him, he knew that he must be mad. 

He was prepared, he thought, for any wonder. The only thing he had never 
expected was the utterly commonplace. 

The space pod was resting on the polished floor of an elegant, anonymous 
hotel suite that might have been in any large city on Earth. He was staring into a 
living room with a coffee table, a divan, a dozen chairs, a writing desk, various 
lamps, a half-filled bookcase with some magazines lying on it, and even a bowl 
of flowers. Van Gogh's Bridge at Aries was hanging on one wall - Wyeth's 
Christina's World on another. He felt confident that when he pulled open the 
drawer of that desk, he would find a Gideon Bible inside it... 

If he was indeed mad, his delusions were beautifully organized. 
Everything was perfectly real; nothing vanished when he turned his back. The 
only incongruous element in the scene - and that certainly a major one - was the 
space pod itself. 



For many minutes, Bowman did not move from his seat. He half expected 
the vision around him to go away, but it remained as solid as anything be bad 
ever seen in his life. 

It was real - or else a phantom of the senses so superbly contrived that 
there was no way of distinguishing it from reality. Perhaps it was some kind of 
test; if so, not only his fate but that of the human race might well depend upon 
his actions in the next few minutes. 

He could sit here and wait for something to happen, or he could open the 
pod and step outside to challenge the reality of the scene around him. The floor 
appeared to be solid; at least, it was bearing the weight of the space pod. He was 
not likely to fall through it - whatever “it” might really be. 

But there was stili the question of air; for all that he could teli, this room 
might be in vacuum, or might contain a poisonous atmosphere. He thought it 
very unlikely - no one would go to all this trouble without attending to such an 
essential detail - but he did not propose to take unnecessary risks. In any event, 
his years of training made him wary of contamination; he was reluctant to 
expose himself to an unknown environment until he knew that there was no 
alternative. This place looked like a hotel room somewhere in the United States. 
That did not alter the fact that in reality he must be hundreds of light-years from 
the Solar System. 

He closed the helmet of his suit, sealing himself in, and actuated the hatch 
of the space pod. There was a brief hiss of pressure equalization; then he stepped 
out into the room. 

As far as he could teli, he was in a perfectly normal gravity field. He 
raised one arm, then let it fall freely. It flopped to his side in less than a second. 

This made everything seem doubly unreal. Here he was wearing a 
spacesuit, standing - when he should have been floating - outside a vehicle 
which could only function properly in the absence of gravity. All his normal 
astronaufs reflexes were upset; he had to think before he made every movement. 

Like a man in a trance he walked slowly from his bare, unfurnished half of 
the room toward the hotel suite. It did not, as he had almost expected, disappear 
as he approached, but remained perfectly real - and apparently perfectly solid. 



He stopped beside the coffee table. On it sat a conventional Bell System 
vision-phone, complete with the local directory. He bent down and picked iip the 
volume with his clumsy, gloved hands. 

It bore, in the familiar type he had seen thousands of times, the name: 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Then he looked more closely; and for the first time, he had objective proof 
that, although all this might be real, he was not on Earth. 

He could read only the word Washington; the rest of the printing was a 
blur, as if it had been copied from a newspaper photograph. He opened the book 
at random and riffled through the pages. They were all blank sheets of crisp 
white material which was certainly not paper, though it looked very much like it. 

He lifted the telephone receiver and pressed it against the plastic of his 
helmet. If there had been a dialing sound he could have heard it through the 
conducting material. But, as he had expected, there was only silence. 

So - it was all a fake, though a fantastically careful one. And it was clearly 
not intended to deceive but rather - he hoped - to reassure. That was a very 
comforting thought; nevertheless he would not remove his suit until be had 
completed his voyage of exploration. All the furniture seemed sound and solid 
enough; he tried the chairs, and they supported his weight. But the drawers in the 
desk would not open; they were dummies. 

So were the books and magazines; like the telephone directory, only the 
tities were readable. They formed an odd selection - mostly rather trashy best 
sellers, a few sensational works of nonfiction, and some well-publicized 
autobiographies. There was nothing less than three years old, and little of any 
intellectual content. Not that it mattered, for the books could not even be taken 
down from the shelves. 

There were two doors that opened readily enough. The first one took him 
into a small but comfortable bedroom, fitted with a bed, bureau, two chairs, light 
switches that actually worked, and a clothes closet. He opened this, and found 
himself looking at four suits, a dressing gown, a dozen white shirts, and several 
sets of underwear, all neatly draped from hangers. 



He took down one of the suits, and inspected it carefully. As far as his 
gloved hands could judge, it was made of material that was more like fur than 
wool. It was also a little out of style; on Earth, no one had been wearing single- 
breasted suits for at least four years. 

Next to the bedroom was a bathroom, complete with fittings which, he 
was relieved to note, were not dummies, but worked in a perfectly normal 
manner. And after that was a kitchenette, with electric cooker, refrigerator, 
storage cupboards, crockery and cutlery, sink, table, and chairs. Bowman began 
to explore this not only with curiosity, but with mounting hunger. 

First he opened the refrigerator, and a wave of cold mist rolled out. The 
shelves were well stocked with packages and cans, ali of them looking perfectly 
familiar from a distance, though at close quarters their proprietary labeis were 
blurred and unreadable. However, there was a notable absence of eggs, milk, 
butter, meat, fruit, or any other unprocessed food; the refrigerator held only 
items that had already been packaged in some way. 

Bowman picked up a carton of a familiar breakfast cereal, thinking as he 
did so that it was odd to keep this frozen. The moment he lifted the package, he 
knew that it certainly did not contain cornflakes; it was much too heavy. 

He ripped open the lid, and examined the contents. 

The box contained a slightly moist blue substance, of about the weight and 
texture of bread pudding. Apart from its odd color, it looked quite appetizing. 

But this is ridiculous, Bowman told himself. I am almost certainly being 
watched, and I must look an idiot wearing this suit. If this is some kind of 
intelligence test, I've probably failed already. Without further hesitation, he 
walked back into the bedroom and began to undo the clamp of his helmet. When 
it was loose, he lifted the helmet a fraction of an inch, cracked the seal and took 
a cautious sniff. As far as he could teli, he was breathing perfectly normal air. 

He dropped the helmet on the bed, and began thankfully - and rather stiffly 
- to divest himself of his suit. When he had finished, he stretched, took a few 
deep breaths, and carefully hung the spacesuit up among the more conventional 
articles of clothing in the closet. It looked rather odd there, but the compulsive 



tidiness that Bowman shared with all astronauts would never have allowed him 
to leave it anywhere else. 

Then he walked quickly back into the kitchen and began to inspect the 
“cereal” box at closer quarters. 

The blue bread pudding had a faint, spicy smell, something like a 
macaroon. Bowman weighed it in his hand, then broke off a piece and cautiously 
sniffed at it. Though he felt sure now that there would be no deliberate attempt to 
poison him, there was always the possibility of mistakes - especially in a matter 
so complex as biochemistry. 

He nibbled at a few crumbs, then chewed and swallowed the fragment of 
food; it was excellent, though the flavor was so elusive as to be almost 
indescribable. If he closed his eyes, he could imagine it was meat, or wholemeal 
bread, or even dried fruit. Unless there were unexpected aftereffects, he had no 
cause to fear starvation. 

When he had eaten just a few mouthfuls of the substance, and already felt 
quite satisfied, he looked for something to drink. There were half a dozen cans of 
beer - again of a famous brand - at the back of the refrigerator, and he pressed 
the tab on one of them to open it. 

The prestressed metal lid popped off along its strain lines, exactly as usual. 
But the can did not contain beer; to Bowman's surprised disappointment, it held 
more of the blue food. 

In a few seconds he had opened half a dozen of the other packages and 
cans. Whatever their labeis, their contents were the same; it seemed that his diet 
was going to be a little monotonous, and that he would have nothing but water to 
drink. He filled a glass from the kitchen faucet and sipped at it cautiously. 

He spat out the first few drops at once; the taste was terrible. Then, rather 
ashamed of his instinctive reaction, he forced himself to drink the rest. 

That first sip had been enough to identify the liquid. It tasted terrible 
because it had no taste at all; the faucet was supplying pure, distilled water. His 
unknown hosts were obviously taking no chances with his health. 



Feeling much refreshed, he then had a quick shower. There was no soap, 
which was another minor inconvenience, but there was a very efficient hot-air 
drier in which be luxuriated for a while before trying on underpants, vest, and 
dressing gown from the clothes closet. After that, he lay down on the bed, stared 
up at the ceiling, and tried to make sense of this fantastic situation. 

He had made little progress when he was distracted by another line of 
thought. Immediately above the bed was the usual hotel-type ceiling TV screen; 
he had assumed that, like the telephone and books, it was a dummy. 

But the control unit on its swinging bedside arm looked so realistic that he 
could not resist playing with it; and as his fingers touched the ON sensor disk, 
the screen lit up. 

Feverishly, he started to tap out channel selector codes at random - and 
almost at once he got his first picture. 

It was a well-known African news commentator, discussing the attempts 
being made to preserve the last remnants of his country's wild life. Bowman 
listened for a few seconds, so captivated by the sound of a human voice that he 
did not in the least care what it was talking about. Then he changed channels. 

In the next five minutes, he got a symphony orchestra playing Walton's 
Violin Concerto, a discussion on the sad state of the legitimate theater, a westem, 
a demonstration of a new headache cure, a panel game in some Oriental 
language, a psychodrama, three news commentaries, a football game, a lecture 
on solid geometry (in Russian), and several tuning signals and data 
transmissions. It was, in fact, a perfectly normal selection from the world's TV 
programs, and apart from the psychological uplift it gave him, it confirmed one 
suspicion that had already been forming in his mind. 

All the programs were about two years old. That was around the time 
TMA-1 had been discovered, and it was hard to believe that this was a pure 
coincidence. Something had been monitoring the radio waves; that ebon block 
had been busier than men had suspected. 

He continued to wander across the spectrum, and suddenly recognized a 
familiar scene. Here was this very suite, now occupied by a celebrated actor who 
was furiously denouncing an unfaithful mistress. Bowman looked with a shock 



of recognition upon the living room he had just left - and when the camera 
followed the indignant couple toward the bedroom, he involuntarily looked 
toward the door to see if anyone was entering. 

So that was how this reception area had been prepared for him; his hosts 
had based their ideas of terrestrial living upon TV programs. His feeling that he 
was inside a movie set was almost literally true. 

He had learned all that he wished to for the moment, and turned off the set. 
What do I do now? he asked himself, locking his fingers behind his head and 
staring up at the blank screen. 

He was physically and emotionally exhausted, yet it seemed impossible 
that one could sleep in such fantastic surroundings, and farther from Earth than 
any man in history had ever been. But the comfortable bed, and the instinctive 
wisdom of the body, conspired together against his will. 

He fumbled for the light switch, and the room was plunged into darkness. 
Within seconds, he had passed beyond the reach of dreams. 

So, for the last time, David Bowman slept. 


45 - Recapitulation 


There being no further use for it, the furniture of the suite dissolved back 
into the mind of its creator. Only the bed remained - and the walls, shielding this 
fragile organism from the energies it could not yet control. 

In his sleep, David Bowman stirred restlessly. He did not wake, nor did he 
dream, but he was no longer wholly unconscious. Like a fog creeping through a 
forest, something invaded his mind. He sensed it only dimly, for the full impact 
would have destroyed him as surely as the fires raging beyond these walls. 
Beneath that dispassionate scrutiny, he felt neither hope nor fear; all emotion had 
been leached away. 



He seemed to be floating in free space, while around him stretched, in all 
directions, an infinite geometrical grid of dark lines or threads, along which 
moved tiny nodes of light - some slowly, some at dazzling speed. 

Once he had peered through a microscope at a cross-section of a human 
brain, and in its network of nerve fibers had glimpsed the same labyrinthine 
complexity. But that had been dead and static, whereas this transcended life 
itself. He knew - or believed he knew - that he was watching the operation of 
some gigantic mind, contemplating the universe of which he was so tiny a part. 

The vision, or illusion, lasted only a moment. Then the crystalline planes 
and lattices, and the interlocking perspectives of moving light, flickered out of 
existence, as David Bowman moved into a realm of consciousness that no man 
had experienced before. 

At first, it seemed that Time itself was running backward. Even this 
marvel he was prepared to accept, before be realized the subtler truth. 

The springs of memory were being tapped; in controlled recollection, he 
was reliving the past. There was the hotel suite - there the space pod - there the 
burning starscapes of the red sun - there the shining core of the galaxy - there the 
gateway through which he had reemerged into the universe. And not only vision, 
but all the sense impressions, and all the emotions he had felt at the time, were 
racing past, more and more swiftly. His life was unreeling like a tape recorder 
playing back at ever-increasing speed. 

Now he was once more aboard the Discovery and the rings of Saturn filled 
the sky. Before that, he was repeating his final dialogue with Hal; he was seeing 
Frank Poole leave on his last mission; he was hearing the voice of Earth, 
assuring him that all was well. 

And even as he relived these events, he knew that all indeed was well. He 
was retrogressing down the corridors of time, being drained of knowledge and 
experience as he swept back toward his childhood. But nothing was being lost; 
all that be had ever been, at every moment of his life, was being transferred to 
safer keeping. Even as one David Bowman ceased to exist, another became 
immortal. 


Faster, faster he moved back into forgotten years, and into a simpler 



world. Faces he had once loved, and had thought lost beyond recall, smiled at 
him sweetly. He smiled back with fondness, and without pain. 


Now, at last, the headlong regression was slackening; the wells of memory 
were nearly dry. Time flowed more and more sluggishly, approaching a moment 
of stasis - as a swinging pendulum, at the limit of its arc, seems frozen for one 
eternal instant, before the next cycle begins. 

The timeless instant passed; the pendulum reversed its swing. In an empty 
room, floating amid the fires of a double star twenty thousand light-years from 
Earth, a baby opened its eyes and began to cry. 


46 - Transformation 


Then it became silent, as it saw that it was no longer alone. 

A ghostly, glimmering rectangle had formed in the empty air. It solidified 
into a crystal tablet, lost its transparency, and became suffused with a pale, milky 
luminescence. Tantalizing, ill-defined phantoms moved across its surface and in 
its depths. They coalesced into bars of lights and shadow, then formed 
intermeshing, spoked patterns that began slowly to rotate, in time with the 
pulsing rhythm that now seemed to fili the whole of space. 

It was a spectacle to grasp and hold the attention of any child - or of any 
man-ape. But, as it had been three million years before, it was only the outward 
manifestation of forces too subtle to be consciously perceived. It was merely a 
toy to distract the senses, while the real processing was carried out at far deeper 
levels of the mind. 

This time, the processing was swift and certain, as the new design was 
woven. For in the eons since their last meeting, much had been learned by the 
weaver; and the material on which he practiced his art was now of an infinitely 
finer texture. But whether it should be permitted to form part of his still-growing 
tapestry, only the future could teli. 



With eyes that already held more than human intentness, the baby stared 
into the depths of the crystal monolith, seeing - but not yet understanding - the 
mysteries that lay beyond. It knew that it had come home, that here was the 
origin of many races besides its own; but it knew also that it could not stay. 
Beyond this moment lay another birth, stranger than any in the past. 

Now the moment had come; the glowing patterns no longer echoed the 
secrets in the crystal's heart. As they died, so too the protective walls faded back 
into the nonexistence from which they bad briefly emerged, and the red sun 
filled the sky. 

The metal and plastic of the forgotten space pod, and the clothing once 
worn by an entity who had called himself David Bowman, flashed into flame. 
The last links with Earth were gone, resolved back into their component atoms. 

But the child scarcely noticed, as he adjusted himself to the comfortable 
glow of his new environment. He stili needed, for a little while, this shell of 
matter as the focus of his powers. His indestructible body was his mind's present 
image of itself; and for all his powers, he knew that he was stili a baby. So he 
would remain until he had decided on a new form, or had passed beyond the 
necessities of matter. 

And now it was time to go - though in one sense he would never leave this 
place where he had been reborn, for he would always be part of the entity that 
used this double star for its unfathomable purposes. The direction, though not the 
nature, of his destiny was ciear before him, and there was no need to trace the 
devious path by which he had come. With the instincts of three million years, he 
now perceived that there were more ways than one behind the back of space. 
The ancient mechanisms of the Star Gate had served him well, but he would not 
need them again. 

The glimmering rectangular shape that had once seemed no more than a 
slab of crystal stili floated before him, indifferent as he was to the harmless 
flames of the inferno beneath. It encapsulated yet unfathomed secrets of space 
and time, but some at least he now understood and was able to command. How 
obvious - how necessary - was that mathematical ratio of its sides, the quadratic 
sequence 1:4:9! And how naive to have imagined that the series ended at this 
point, in only three dimensions! 



He focused his mind upon these geometrical simplicities, and as his 
thoughts brushed against it, the empty framework filled with the darkness of the 
interstellar night. The glow of the red sun faded - or, rather, seemed to recede in 
all directions at once - and there before him was the luminous Whirlpool of the 
galaxy. 

It might have been some beautiful, incredibly detailed model, embedded in 
a block of plastic. But it was the reality, grasped as a whole with senses now 
more subtle than vision. If he wished, he could focus his attention upon any one 
of its hundred billion stars; and he could do much more than that. 

Here he was, adrift in this great river of suns, halfway between the banked 
fires of the galactic core and the lonely, scattered sentinel stars of the rim. And 
here he wished to be, on the far side of this chasm in the sky, this serpentine 
band of darkness, empty of all stars. He knew that this formless chaos, visible 
only by the glow that limned its edges from fire-mists far beyond, was the stili 
unused stuff of creation, the raw material of evolutions yet to be. Here, Time had 
not begun; not until the suns that now burned were long since dead would light 
and life reshape this void. 

Unwittingly, he had crossed it once; now he must cross it again - this time, 
of his own volition. The thought filled him with a sudden, freezing terror, so that 
for a moment he was wholly disorientated, and his new vision of the universe 
trembled and threatened to shatter into a thousand fragments. 

It was not fear of the galactic gulfs that chilled his soul, but a more 
profound disquiet, stemming from the unborn future. For he had left behind the 
time scales of his human origin; now, as he contemplated that band of starless 
night, he knew his first intimations of the Eternity that yawned before him. 

Then he remembered that he would never be alone, and his panic slowly 
ebbed. The crystal-clear perception of the universe was restored to him - not, he 
knew, wholly by his own efforts. When he needed guidance in his first faltering 
steps, it would be there. 

Confident once more, like a high diver who had regained his nerve, he 
launched himself across the light-years. The galaxy burst forth from the mental 
frame in which he had enclosed it; stars and nebulae poured past him in an 
illusion of infinite speed. Phantom suns exploded and feli behind as he slipped 



like a shadow through their cores; the cold, dark waste of cosmic dust which he 
had once feared seemed no more than the beat of a raven's wing across the face 
of the Sun. 

The stars were thinning out; the glare of the Milky Way was dimming into 
a pale ghost of the glory he had known - and, when he was ready, would know 
again. 

He was back, precisely where he wished to be, in the space that men called 

real. 


47 - Star-Child 


There before him, a glittering toy no Star-Child could resist, floated the 
planet Earth with ali its peoples. 

He had returned in time. Down there on that crowded globe, the alarms 
would be flashing across the radar screens, the great tracking telescopes would 
be searching the skies - and history as men knew it would be drawing to a close. 

A thousand miles below, he became aware that a slumbering cargo of 
death had awoken, and was stirring sluggishly in its orbit. The feeble energies it 
contained were no possible menaee to him; but he preferred a cleaner sky. He put 
forth his will, and the circling megatons flowered in a silent detonation that 
brought a brief, false dawn to half the sleeping globe. Then he waited, 
marshaling his thoughts and brooding over his stili untested powers. For though 
he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. 

But he would think of something. 


Epilogue: After 2001 



The novel 2001: A Space Odyssey was written during the years 1964-1968 
and was published in July 1968, shortly after release of the movie. As I have 
described in The Lost Worlds of 2001, both projects proceeded simultaneously, 
with feedback in each direction. 

Thus I often had the strange experience of revising the manuscript after 
viewing rushes based upon an earlier version of the story - a stimulating but 
rather expensive way of writing a novel. 

As a resuit, there is a much closer parallel between book and movie than is 
usually the case, but there are also major differences. In the novel, the 
destination of the spaceship Discovery was Iapetus (or Japetus), most enigmatic 
of Saturn's many moons. The Saturnian system was reached via Jupiter: 
Discovery made a close approach to the giant planet, using its enormous 
gravitational field to produce a “slingshot” effect and to accelerate it along the 
second lap of its journey. Exactly the same maneuver was used by the Voyager 
space-probes in 1979, when they made the first detailed reconnaissance of the 
outer giants. 

In the movie, however, Stanley Kubrick wisely avoided confusion by 
setting the third confrontation between Man and Monolith among the moons of 
Jupiter. Saturn was dropped from the script entirely, though Douglas Trumbull 
later used the expertise he had acquired filming the ringed planet in his own 
production, Silent Running. 

No one could have imagined, back in the mid-sixties, that the exploration 
of the moons of Jupiter lay not in the next century but only fifteen years ahead. 
Nor had anyone dreamed of the wonders that would be found there - although 
we can be quite certain that the discoveries of the twin Voyagers will one day be 
surpassed by even more unexpected finds. When 2001 was written, Io, Europa, 
Ganymede, and Callisto were mere pinpoints of light in even the most powerful 
telescope; now they are worlds, each unique, and one of them - Io - the most 
volcanically active body in the Solar System. 

Yet all things considered, both movie and book stand up quite well in the 
light of these discoveries. There are no major changes I would wish to make to 
the text, and it is fascinating to compare the Jupiter sequences in the film with 
the actual movies from the Voyager cameras. 



It must also be remembered that 2001 was written in an age that now lies 
beyond one of the Great Divides in human history; we are sundered from it 
forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong set foot upon the Moon. July 20, 
1969, was stili half a decade in the future when Stanley Kubrick and I started 
thinking about the “proverbial good Science fiction movie” (his phrase). Now 
history and fiction have become inextricably intertwined. 

The Apollo astronauts had already seen the film when they left for the 
Moon. The crew of Apollo 8, who at Christmas 1968 became the first men ever 
to set eyes upon the lunar Farside, told me that they had been tempted to radio 
back the discovery of a large, black monolith: alas, discretion prevailed... 

And there were later, almost uncanny, instances of nature imitating art. 
Strangest of all was the saga of Apollo 13 in 1970. 

As a good opening, the Command Module, which houses the crew, had 
been christened Odyssey. Just before the explosion of the oxygen tank which 
caused the mission to be aborted, the crew had been playing Richard Strauss' 
Zarathustra theme, now universally identified with the movie. Immediately after 
the loss of power, Jack Swigert radioed back to Mission Control: “Houston, 
we've had a problem.” The words that Hal used to Frank Poole on a similar 
occasion were: “Sony to interrupt the festivities, but we have a problem.” 

When the report of the Apollo 13 mission was later published, NASA 
Administrator Tom Paine sent me a copy and noted under Swigerfs words: “Just 
as you always said it would be, Arthur.” I stili get a very strange feeling when I 
contemplate this whole series of events - almost, indeed, as if I share a certain 
responsibility... 

Another resonance is less serious, but equally striking. One of the most 
technically brilliant sequences in the movie was that in which astronaut Frank 
Poole was shown mnning round and round the circular track of the giant 
centrifuge, held in place by the “artificial gravity” produced by its spin. 

Almost a decade later, the crew of the superbly successful Skylab realized 
that its designers had provided them with a similar geometry; a ring of storage 
cabinets formed a smooth, circular band around the space station's interior. 
Skylab, however, was not spinning, but this did not deter its ingenious 



occupants. They discovered that they could run around the track, just like mice 
in a squirrel cage, to produce a resuit visually indistinguishable from that shown 
in 2001. And they televised the whole exercise back to Earth (need I name the 
accompanying music?) with the comment: “Stanley Kubrick should see this.” As 
in due course he did, because I sent him the telecine recording. (I never got it 
back; Stanley uses a tame Black Hole as a filing system.) 

There is also the strange case of the “Eye of Iapetus,” described in Chapter 
35, where Bowman discovers “a brilliant white oval... so sharp-edged that it 
almost looked... painted on the face of the little moon” with a tiny black dot at 
the exact center, which turns out to be the Monolith (or one of its avatars). 

Well - when Voyager 1 took the first photographs of Iapetus, they did 
indeed disclose a large, clear-cut white oval with a tiny black dot at the center. 
Cari Sagan promptly sent me a print from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the 
cryptic annotation “Thinking of you...” I do not know whether to be relieved or 
disappointed that Voyager 2 has left the matter stili open. 

When, fourteen years ago, I typed the final words “For though he was 
master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of 
something” I felt I had closed the Circuit and precluded all possibility of a 
sequel. Indeed, for the next decade I ridiculed the very idea, for what seemed to 
me conclusive reasons. Since 2001 was concerned with the next stage of human 
evolution, to expect me (or even Stanley) to depict it would be as absurd as 
asking Moon-watcher to describe Bowman and his world. 

Despite my protests, it is now obvious that my busy little subconscious 
was hard at work, perhaps in response to the constant stream of letters from 
readers wanting to know “what happened next.” Finally, as an intellectual 
exercise, I wrote a precis of a possible sequel in the form of a short movie 
outline and sent copies to Stanley Kubrick and my agent, Scott Meredith. As far 
as Stanley was concerned, this was an act of courtesy, for I knew that he never 
repeats himself (just as I never write sequels), but I hoped that Scott would sell 
the outline to Omni magazine, which had recently published another outline, 
“The Songs of Distant Earth.” Then, I fondly hoped, the ghost of 2001 would be 
finally exorcised. 

Stanley expressed guarded interest, but Scott was enthusiastic - and 
implacable. “You've simply got to write the book,” he said. With a groan, I 



realized that he was right... 


So now, gentle reader (to coin a phrase), you can find what happens next 
in 2010: Space Odyssey Two. I am extremely grateful to New American Library, 
Copyright holders of 2001: A Space Odyssey, for permission to use Chapter 37 in 
the new novel; It serves as a link, connecting the two books together. 

A final comment on both novels as seen from a point now almost exactly 
midway between the year 2001 and the time when Stanley Kubrick and I started 
working together. Contrary to popular belief, Science fiction writers very seldom 
attempt to predict the future; indeed, as Ray Bradbury put it so well, they more 
often try to prevent it. In 1964, the first heroic period of the Space Age was just 
opening; the United States had set the Moon as its target, and once that decision 
had been made, the ultimate conquest of the other planets, appeared inevitable. 
By 2001, it seemed quite reasonable that there would be giant space-stations in 
orbit round the Earth and - a little later - manned expeditions to the planets. 

In an ideal world, that would have been possible: the Vietnam War would 
have paid for everything that Stanley Kubrick showed on the Cinerama screen. 
Now we realize that it will take a little longer. 

2001 will not arrive by 2001. Yet - barring accidents - by that date almost 
everything depicted in the book and the movie will be in the advanced planning 
stage. 


Except for communication with alien intelligences: that is something that 
can never be planned - only anticipated. No one knows whether it will happen 
tomorrow - or a thousand years hence. 

But it will happen someday. 


ARTHUR C. CLARKE 
Colombo, Sri Lanka 


November, 1982